It has been reported that a NEW outbreak of the Ebola virus has occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, just four months after the last outbreak struck the country. Based on past outbreaks of this deadly disease, it has been estimated that the fatality rate is between 25 and 90 percent. But what are the most common symptoms of this disease?
What is Ebola Virus?
Humans and other primates are afflicted with Ebola virus disease (EVD), which was previously known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus is transmitted to people from wild animals (including fruit bats, porcupines, and non-human primates) and spreads through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs, and other body fluids, and with surfaces contaminated with these fluids (such as bedding, clothing).
A person visiting Africa is unlikely to contract the Ebola virus disease, though people working in hospitals, laboratories, and aid agencies should be aware of the symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Ebola virus?
Infection with the Ebola virus can often be fatal, and one out of every two people who contract it will die.
A person has the best chance of surviving the infection if they receive medical attention at the first signs of infection, even though there are two licensed vaccines which can help prevent the disease.
A recent study by the National Health Service indicates that the symptoms generally start suddenly, between two and 21 days following the infection.
A fever-like symptom that is usually associated with EVD, along with minor internal bleeding and compromised organ functions, is one of the most common signs to look out for.
A large range of symptoms are recognized as “typical” Ebola Virus symptoms by the National Health Service:
- A high temperature
- A headache
- Joint and muscle pain
- A sore throat
- Severe muscle weakness
These symptoms are often followed by:
- A skin rash
- Stomach pain
- Reduced kidney and liver function
In a statement provided by the NHS, it was stated that the infection could lead to internal bleeding, as well as bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose and mouth.
What to do if you experience Ebola virus symptoms
As of today, no one in the UK has ever acquired Ebola from someone else, so there is a very slim chance that your symptoms are related to Ebola.
At the moment, travellers who have visited Africa and taken care of infected people are at the greatest risk of contracting the disease.
The National Health Service advises that if you have recently returned from the continent and are experiencing any of the symptoms, you should contact NHS 111 or visit your GP immediately.
Depending on the circumstances, what appears to be the Ebola virus may actually be another serious disease such as cholera or malaria.
In order to uncover the correct diagnosis and receive the correct treatment for your ailment, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How is Ebola Virus spread?
It is believed that Ebola Virus can be spread through the ‘direct contact’ with broken skin or mucous membranes through human-to-human transmission.
According to the World Health Organization, the virus can be transmitted via the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is infected or has died due to the disease.
In addition to objects which have been contaminated with such fluids- (blood, urine, feces or vomit), there are other elements that can facilitate the spread of this disease.
There have been cases where pregnant women who have been infected by Ebola Virus during pregnancy may carry the virus in their breastmilk, or in pregnancy-related fluids and tissues after they recover from the disease.
WHO has stated: “This poses a risk of transmission to the baby they carry as well as other people.”. It is important to note that pregnant women who survive Ebola Virus disease are not at risk of contracting the virus during pregnancy.