Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a disease of humans and other primates caused by a ebolavirus. Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches. Typically nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally.  The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal (commonly monkeys or fruit bats). Spread through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the virus without being affected. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months. In order to make the diagnosis, typically other diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, cholera, and other viral hemorrhagic feversare first excluded. To confirm the diagnosis, blood samples are tested for viral antibodies, viral RNA, or the virus itself.
Prevention includes decreasing the spread of disease from other infected animals to humans. This may be done by checking such animals for infection and killing and properly disposing of the bodies if the disease is discovered. Properly cooking meat and wearing protective clothing when handling meat may also be helpful, as are wearing protective clothing and washing hands when around a person with the disease. Samples of bodily fluids and tissues from people with the disease should be handled with special caution. There is no specific treatment for the disease. Efforts to help those who are infected are supportive and include giving either oral rehydration therapy (slightly sweet and salty water to drink) or intravenous fluids. The disease has a high mortality rate, often killing between 50% and 90% of those infected with the virus. EVD was first identified in Sudanand the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The disease typically occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. From 1976 (when it was first identified) through 2013, fewer than 1,000 people per year have been infected. The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea,Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria. As of August 2014, more than 1,750 suspected cases have been reported. Efforts are ongoing to develop a vaccine; however, none yet exists

The virus has a long incu bation period and symptoms appear in approximately eight to 21 days. An infected person is likely to experience sudden onset of fever, weak ness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These symp toms are followed by vomit ing, diarrhoea, rash and in ternal and external bleeding. Prolonged haemorrhagic conditions could damage the kidney and liver. Infected per sons become contagious only after they start showing symptoms, not during the incubation period. 

The outbreak starts when a person comes into contact with an infected animal. In most cases, the disease is contracted by handling infected animals or carcasses. An infected person can spread the disease within other members of the community. Any direct contact with bodily fluids of the infected person like blood coming through broken skin and mucus membranes, stool, urine, saliva, semen and so on can cause the infection. Casual disposal of clothing, bed linen, of clothing, bed linen, needles used to cure the infected person could contaminate the environment. In the present outbreak, many people got infected during funerals and burial rituals. Dead people are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. 

There is no vaccine or specific treatment of the infection. Severely ill patients get dehydrated frequently and need intravenous fluids or oral rehydration. It is advised to keep them on intensive care support. Patients should be isolated from others and treated by health workers taking strict precautions. Recently, two health workers from Samaritan's Purse, a US-based private humanitarian organization, were treated with experimental medicine. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention on its website states that the product is still in experimental stage and hence is not available for general use. This week, the WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing outbreak. An effective vaccine against the Ebola vaccine will not be available before 2015, the World Health Organization said on Saturday. The World Health Organization said that though there is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola, a candidate is being rushed through the trial process to become available by 2015. 

British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline is planning to start clinical trials of the most promising vaccine next month. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general of the UN health agency said on Saturday, "Since this is an emergency, we can put emergency procedures in place and have a vaccine available by 2015". 

A treatment made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, 'Zmapp' has shown promising results on monkeys and may have been effective in treating two Americans who were recently infected with the deadly virus in Africa. Kieny will be hosting a WHO meeting on the issue on Monday. Top medical ethicists will be part of this meeting to decide whether an experimental treatment for Ebola can be used on patients. The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan's Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether the medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people, should be used in the outbreak.

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