The Ebola Virus: What You Need To Know

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“OH NO!” You are coughing and your stomach hurts. It must be Ebola, right? Not necessarily. Many people may panicking about this deadly disease, but most people have no idea what they’re talking about.

The virus first was discovered in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River, hence the name. The outbreak happening right now is the most severe and complex Ebola outbreak since the disease was first discovered. There have been more cases and deaths in the most recent outbreak than all of the past outbreaks combined.

Ebola is actually not transmitted through air by coughing, contrary to common belief. The sneeze of an infected person, can infect you but that is because Ebola is only passed to humans though by direct contact of an infected person or animal’s blood, waste, organs, or other body fluids, or even other objects that were touched by these fluids. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, food, or mosquitoes. Also, the way Ebola can spread through other places is because of fruit bats. Many scientists think that fruit bats are the natural hosts that carry Ebola.

Early symptoms of Ebola include fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.  After, other things begin to occur such as vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Symptoms usually appear 8-10 days after infection. In past cases, up to 90% of humans who were infected died. Right now, though the survival rate has become higher, but only 47% of people infected survive. Treatments and vaccines (treatments are cures for the already infected, while vaccines prevent you from getting the disease) are slowly making progress. The vaccines currently being developed are designed to simulate an immune response against the virus that will protect uninfected individuals who are exposed. The vaccines do not contain live Ebola, but instead only contain parts of the virus, but don’t worry though, because these vaccines don’t cause you to become infected. A treatment also being developed is named “ZMapp.” It Various setbacks to the scientists creating treatments are those people who are naturally immune to the horrifying symptoms. ZMapp is made of proteins called monoclonal antibodies. They bind to the Ebola virus which makes it harmless. When asked about this disease, seventh grader Ashley H. said “Ebola is a horrible disease and we should work hard to find a cure.”

The Ebola virus might be something to look out for in the near future, so watch out America.