Health FAQs

Ebola Virus Disease: Mode of Transmission, Symptoms and Prevention

This is also known as the Ebola virus disease. It is a human disease that is caused by ebola virus precisely any of the four(4) of the five (5) known ebolaviruses.

The four (4) types of Ebola virus

  • Bundibuyyo virus (BDBV)
  • Ebola virus (EBOV)
  • Sudan virus (SUDV)
  • Tai Forest virus(TAFV)

The Ebola virus disease was discovered in the ebola river in the democratic republic of congo (zaire) where it was first found in 1976. Sudan was also affected the same year (1978). The fifth virus, Reston virus (RESTV) is thought no to be disease-causing for humans. It is clinically nearly indistinguishable from the Marburg virus disease.


The incubation period of the Ebola virus

The time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. The average time between contracting the infection and the onset of symptoms is 13 days but can be as long as 25 days.

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Mode of Transmission

The Ebola virus disease has been confirmed to be transmitted through blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal like monkeys, Apes, fruit bat and related forms. Ebola virus can be transmitted dogs and pigs while dogs may be asymptomatic, pigs tend to develop clinical disease.

However, transmission through oral exposure is likely and has been confirmed in these non-human parasites. Human to human transmission occurs through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person including embalming of an infected dead person or by contact with contaminated medical equipment like needles.

In the older days, explosive nosocomial (hospital infection) transmission has occurred in under-equipped African hospitals due to the reuse of old needles and lack of implementation of universal precautionary measures.

Additionally, men who survive may be able to transmit the disease sexually for nearly seven (7) weeks to two (2) months. The outbreaks have originated from workers of the cotton factory and the other hospital-based such as close contact with an acute case such as nursing as the patient.

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Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus with the early symptoms od disease which includes; fever, headaches, chills, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Sore throat, backache, chest pain, abdominal pain, cough, dyspnoea, hiccups, general malaise, arthralgia, (joint pain) myalgia (pain in the muscles)

Later symptoms include

  • Bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, rectum, and mouth
  • Eye swelling
  • Swelling of the genitals
  • Rashes all over the body that often contains blood
  • Mental confusion
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Coma and death

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Prevention Ebola virus

Ebola virus is highly infectious as well as contagious, meanwhile, these preventive measures below must be practiced to stay safe;

  • Infected persons must be isolated, universal precautionary measures must be maintained.
  • Traditional burial rituals, especially those requiring embalming of dead bodies should be discouraged or modified. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.
  • Samples from people with the disease should be handled with an extra degree of caution. Samples takers suspected humans and animals Ebola cases for diagnosis
    should be handled by trained staff (laboratory technicians)
  • Maintainance of personal and environmental sanitation, regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospitals, as well as after taking care of patients at home. Fruits should be regularly and properly washed before consumption.
  • Persons, animal products, fertilizers and animal dungs from countries where cases of ebola had been recorded, should be screened at the point of entry into Nigeria.
  • Surveillance for high-risk exposures to the Ebola virus, an efficient surveillance system that will include mounting a quarantine system for animals and human beings at the borders.
  • If an outbreak is suspected, the premises should be quarantined immediately.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of pig or monkey, farms with disinfectants.
  • Airline crews are trained to spot the sign and symptoms of Ebola in passengers flying from places where the virus is found.
  • Carbolization on a regular basis and terminal disinfection of used materials by infected casualties after discharge.
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