This article is not fear mongering, but its intention is to provide what is known so far about this epidemic outbreak in Western Africa (Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone) occurring earlier this year, and about to be pandemic spreading to other continents.
Microscopically, it’s in the filovirus family with Marburg virus, together with the most virulent pathogens of humans. Five different species of Ebola known: Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo and Reston agents, with Zaire species causing up to 88 percent fatality vs. Sudan species 50 percent. Humans and primates are infected through reservoirs linked to the fruit bats in caves in Uganda. Ebola enters the body via infected bodily fluids, such as saliva, sweat, and semen, through mucous membranes, breaks in the skin, or intravenously (Not known if also via aerosol droplets).
The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days before symptoms start, which initially feature fever/chills and generalized malaise; then diffuse non-itching red rash by days 5–7; and nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain may ensue. As the disease progresses, diffuse bleeding occurs through any bodily orifice prior to the end of life.
Mainstay treatment is supportive care to keep patient alive, as no approved therapies are currently available. However, a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies called Zmapp appears promising as it has saved two U.S. healthcare workers. The key to suppressing transmission is through infection control precautions and environmental control. It is reported that the virus can survive on environmental surfaces for up to four days and can be killed with chlorine bleach and possible UV light. Please contact CDC for further updates.