Ebola: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Ebola virus is a deadly virus that causes blood clots inside, because blood leaks from small blood vessels, and also causes inflammation and tissue damage. This rare epidemic spreads the virus through the body, the virus damages the immune system and organs. The Ebola virus is transmitted from animals, which is then transmitted to humans.

The disease that plagues the African continent is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of death from the Ebola virus are up to 90 percent. While in Indonesia until now there has never been an Ebola outbreak.

Causes or Transmission of Ebola

Ebola is a viral disease in the Ebolavirus and Filoviridae family. The Ebola virus is transmitted from animals to humans, such as fruit bats, porcupines, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, and forest deer.

1. Transmission of Ebola from Animals to Humans

The Ebola virus is thought to be transmitted from the body fluids of infected animals to humans. Transmission of animal body fluids including:

  • Blood

Slaughtering or eating animals infected with Ebola can transmit the virus. Scientists who have operated on infected animals are also at risk of contracting the virus.

  • Animal waste

Travelers visiting certain caves in Africa and underground miners are infected with the Marburg virus, which may be infected through contact with bat infected urine or bat urine.

2. Ebola transmission from person to person

The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids from an infected person, and the surface of objects that are contaminated with bodily fluids such as beds, clothes, needles, and medical equipment. These bodily fluids include blood, saliva, sweat, tears, mucus, vomiting, breast milk, urine, and semen, from people infected with Ebola disease.

Person-to-person transmission occurs after people infected with Ebolavirus have Ebola symptoms that appear within 2 to 21 days. People with Ebola may have made contact with hundreds of people, which makes the outbreak difficult to control and can spread quickly.

The cause of Ebola is known to be transmitted by various methods from person to person. Here are some ways of transmitting the Ebola virus to others:

  • Direct contact with the body of someone who has symptoms, or has recently died from Ebola disease.
  • Cleaning body fluids (blood, feces, urine or vomiting) or touching dirty clothes of an infected person – the Ebola virus can last for several days outside the body.
  • Touching needles that are not sterilized or medical equipment used in the care of an infected person.
  • Having sex with an infected person without using a condom – studies show that the Ebola virus may be able to survive in the sperm of a person after several months of recovery.
  • Handle or eat raw or undercooked wild animal meat.
  • Contact with patients suspected or confirmed to have Ebola disease. Usually, health care workers become infected when treating patients.
  • Mourners who make direct contact with the bodies of Ebola sufferers.
  • Traveling to Africa where there have been confirmed outbreaks of Ebola.
  • Carry out animal studies with macaques imported from Africa or the Philippines.
  • Preparing for the funeral of an Ebola-infected person.

Ebola Symptoms

The characteristics of the Ebola virus can appear from 2 to 21 days after contact with the virus, with an average of 8 to 10 days. The main signs and symptoms of Ebola are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Gag
  • Stomach ache
  • Lack of appetite

Meanwhile, some people with this disease may experience the following Ebola virus characteristics:

  • Rash
  • Red eye
  • Hiccup
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Bleed inside and outside the body

Ebola diagnosis

Ebola is a disease that is difficult to diagnose because the initial symptoms are similar to other diseases, such as malaria, typhus, and flu. If the doctor suspects that the patient has Ebola, a blood test may be done to identify the virus. Blood tests also reveal:

  • Low or high white blood cell counts
  • Low platelet count
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • The level of coagulation factors is abnormal
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

In addition to blood tests, the doctor will also consider whether other people in the environment suffering from Ebola disease can be at risk. Because Ebola can occur within three weeks after contracting, anyone who might be infected can experience an incubation period in the same time period. If no symptoms appear within 21 days, it’s likely to be free from Ebola.

Ebola Complications

Ebola and Marburg caused death for most of the people affected. As the Ebola virus develops, this disease can cause:

  • Multiple organ failure
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Jaundice (jaundice)
  • Delirious
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Shock

For people recovering from Ebola, recovery may be slow. It takes months to restore weight and energy, and the virus will stay in the body for weeks. Sufferers may experience the following conditions:

  • Sensory change
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
  • Fatigue
  • Eye inflammation
  • Headache
  • Testicular inflammation

Ebola treatment

There is no drug or vaccine that can treat Ebola until now. Instead, steps were taken to help reduce the discomfort caused by Ebola symptoms. The following treatments can help Ebola sufferers:

  • Give medication to maintain blood pressure
  • Manage electrolyte balance
  • Provide extra oxygen, if necessary
  • Give intravenous and oral fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Provision of blood products if indicated
  • Treat infections
  • Prevents other infections

Ebola Prevention

Prevention for Ebola is done by avoiding contact with the virus that causes Ebola. Here are some tips that can help prevent Ebola transmission:

1. Wash Your Hands

The most important first step for prevention is to wash your hands often before or after the activity. Use soap and water, or use an antiseptic that contains 60 percent alcohol.

2. Avoid Places Affected by the Ebola Outbreak

If you are going to travel abroad, especially to Africa, find out in advance about the current epidemic by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

3. Avoid contact with people infected with Ebola.

Visitors or nurses should avoid contact with infected body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal fluids and saliva. Ebola or Marburg sufferers are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.

4. Avoid Wild Animal Meat

avoid buying or eating wild animal meat in developing countries. like primates sold in local markets.

5. Follow the Infection Control Procedure

If you are a health nurse, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, and eye protection. Condition the infected person away from others. Discard used needles and clean other medical devices.

6. Avoid Contact with Bodies of Ebola Patients

The body of a person who has died due to Ebola disease can still transmit the virus. An organized and specially trained team must bury the body using appropriate safety equipment.


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