What is the Ebola Virus
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening.
One travel-associated case was diagnosed in the United States on September 30, 2014. On October 12, 2014, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola.
Ebola virus disease is a serious, usually fatal, disease for which there are no licensed treatments or vaccines.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola fever) is caused by a virus belonging to the family called Filoviridae. The structure of Ebola virus is actually thread-like in nature as is common for all viruses belonging to the family of filoviridae.
Scientists have identified five types of Ebola virus. Four have been reported to cause disease in humans: Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Bundibugyo. The human disease has so far been mainly limited to parts of Africa.
The Zaire strain, which is involved in the latest outbreak, is the most lethal with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.
The initial symptoms of illness can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
That is just the beginning; more often than not, Ebola strikes like the worst and most humiliating flu you could imagine. People get the sweats, along with body aches and pains.
Then they start vomiting and having uncontrollable diarrhea. These symptoms can appear anywhere between two and 21 days after exposure to the virus. Sometimes, they go into shock. Sometimes, they bleed. Again, about half of those infected with the virus die, and this usually happens fairly quickly sometimes within a few days or a couple of weeks of getting sick.
It then spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.
Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased.
It has been confirmed that a Texas nurse who was diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Nina Pham is 26 years old and a graduate of Texas Christian University.
Hospital officials said Pham had extensive contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who was in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where she worked.
The outbreak began with just a handful of cases in Guinea in March. Since then, that number has grown to 909 confirmed cases and another 414 probable or suspected in that country, Sierra Leone and Liberia and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.