Ebola virus outbreak

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is the largest of all earlier outbreaks and is the cause of serious concern for all of us. The Ebola virus disease (EVD) is believed to be transmitted from wild animals to humans and then it spreads through human-to-human transmission. The disease is highly fatal with an average rate of fatality as 50%. Two outbreaks of this disease were reported for the first time in 1976 from Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo where a village near Ebola River was involved. The transmission of Ebola takes place in humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions of ill and infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and antelope. Human-to-human spread of Ebola takes place by transmission through direct contact (injured skin and mucous membrane) with the secretions, blood and body fluids of infected people. The clothing, materials and surfaces which have been contaminated with Ebola virus are also considered to be the culprits. The sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are the major symptoms which may be confused with other common illnesses and hence pose problems with its treatment. World Health Organization is very much aware of the dangers of Ebola virus to the humanity and has put the globe on surveillance. It has recommended to the Health facilities and other personnel directly or indirectly concerned with the health of the people to reduce the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission, to reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission and to adopt outbreak containment measures. Strict compliance to Ebola infection control measures by health care workers must be made to prevent any contact with the suspected or confirmed Ebola virus patient’s blood, body fluids, contaminated surfaces, clothing and bedding. The professionals must also wear face masks, long sleeved gown and gloves while attending to the patients so as to guard themselves against contracting this disease.

Professor S. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Human Biology Review
Former Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Punjabi University, Patiala, India


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