The Ebola Virus: What you need to Know

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by one of five different Ebola viruses. Four of the strains can cause severe illness in humans and animals. The fifth, Reston virus, has caused illness in some animals, but not in humans.

Ebola is extremely infectious but not extremely contagious. It is infectious, because an infinitesimally small amount can cause illness. Laboratory experiments on nonhuman primates suggest that even a single virus may be enough to trigger a fatal infection.

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Instead, Ebola could be considered moderately contagious, because the virus is not transmitted through the air. The most contagious diseases, such as measles or influenza, virus particles are airborne.

Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. Humans can also be exposed to the virus, for example, by butchering infected animals.

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There are five subspecies of the Ebola virus: Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV), Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV), Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV) and Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)

-Ebola kills 90% of its victims

-The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River, where the first outbreaks occurred in 1976.

-Puts victim in lots of pain

-There is no cure and the cause is unknown.

-It can reproduce in 8 hours and when it does millions of new viruses come out.

-It is the world’s most deadly viruses and one of the most painful deaths possible.

-You can die any were from 3-30 days or even longer.

-It is only stopped when it has no more hosts to feed on.

-Between June and November 1976 the Ebola Virus infected 284 people in Sudan and there were 117 deaths

-In Zaire there were 318 cases and 280 deaths in only the two months of September and October

-A large out-break occurred in Kikwit, Zaire in 1995 with 315 cases and 244 deaths.

-2000-2001 – A Ugandan outbreak (SUDV) results in 425 human cases and 224 deaths.

-2001-2002 – An EBOV outbreak occurs on the border of Gabon and Republic of the Congo (ROC), which results in 53 deaths on the Gabon side and at least 43 deaths on the Republic of the Congo side.

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-December 2002-April 2003 – An EBOV outbreak in Republic of the Congo results in 143 reported cases and 128 deaths.

-2007 – An EBOV outbreak occurs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 187 of the 264 cases reported result in death. In late 2007, an outbreak in Uganda leads to 37 deaths. 149 cases were reported.

-November 2008 – The Ebola-Reston virus (RESTV) is detected in five humans in the Philippines. They are workers on a pig farm and slaughterhouse and suffer no symptoms. This is the first known occurrence of the Reston virus in pigs.


-March 2014-present – Outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 427 confirmed or suspected cases of EVD in Guinea, resulting in 319 deaths there. In Liberia, there are 249 suspected or confirmed cases, resulting in 129 deaths. In Sierra Leone, there have been 525 suspected or confirmed cases with 224 deaths.

source: CNN, AP, Independent Media

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