Interesting Facts About the Ebola Virus Outbreak

Ebola has been in the news lately, because this disease has spread through the African continent into the Western areas such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Ebola, like many other diseases, is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids, such as urine, vomit, sweat, saliva, feces, blood, etc.

It is classified as a viral hemorrhagic fever, which means that virtually uncontrolled bleeding occurs. That bleeding is called DIC, or Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. Dengue, Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, and Yellow fever are all Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers.

This disease, like many others, is also categorized as a zoonotic, which means that, to the best of our present knowledge, the disease is thought to have originated in animals, and then spread to humans.

Exactly how it was spread is a matter of great discussion, but the present working theories are that it very well may have been through eating the flesh of an infected animal.

Scientists do know that the ebola virus has been found in apes such as the chimpanzee, gorilla and monkeys. Another working theory on the spread of the disease from one species to another is that is it may have originated in fruit bats, and then spread to other animals such as pigs, by contact or ingestion of the animal or it’s feces/waste.

From a scientific medical perspective, the ebola virus is related to the Marburg virus, which itself is a type of Filovirus. Historically, the ebola virus has also been found in the Philippines, and research upon it has been documented as early as 1976.

As a disease, ebola is poorly understood by comparison to other diseases, though efforts to understand it have been ongoing since it was first discovered.