Signs and symptoms of Ebola

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Abuja – The 2014 Ebola outbreak in west Africa
is the worst outbreak of the haemorrhagic
disease since it was discovered in 1976.
In total, 1 201 cases including 672 deaths (case
fatality rate 56%) have been reported during the
2014 outbreak.
Since Ebola was discovered in 1976, some 1 200
people have been killed by the virus from 3 147
cases – illustrating the virulence of the virus this
time round.
Signs and symptoms of Ebola
Symptoms present themselves anywhere from 2
to 21 days after infection, but mostly between
day 8 and 10. The symptoms are similar to the
flu, cholera, typhoid and malaria.
Signs and symptoms: Fever, headache, joint and
muscle aches, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting,
stomach pain and lack of appetite.
This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash,
impaired kidney and liver function, and in some
cases, both internal and external bleeding.
Bleeding can occur from the eyes, ears, nose,
mouth and anus.
The WHO reports that laboratory findings include
low white blood cell and platelet counts and
elevated liver enzymes.
People are infectious as long as their blood and
secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was
isolated from semen 61 days after onset of
illness in a man who was infected in a
laboratory.
Science writer David Quammen, who has
investigated the origins and spread of the virus,
writes that “RNA viruses (of which Ebola is one)
produce acute infections, severe for a short time
and then gone. Either they soon disappear or
they kill you.”
Diagnosing Ebola
Diagnosing the disease in someone who has
been infected for only a few days is difficult
because early symptoms, such as eye
inflammation and skin rash, resemble symptoms
of several other more common conditions.
If Ebola is suspected, laboratory tests should be
done promptly. Only one laboratory in South
Africa (the National Institute for Communicable
Diseases
NICD) is equipped to perform tests for Ebola.
This laboratory serves as a World Health
Organisation reference centre for haemorrhagic
diseases
and also provides this diagnostic test service to
many other African countries.
There is no treatment or cure.
– Health24

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