Ebola virus disease

Health specialists prepare for work in an isolation ward for patients at the
Medecins Sans Frontieres facility in southern Guinea
A Liberian nurse is being sprayed with disinfectant after preparing several
bodies of victims of Ebola for burial on August 1, 2014.
People read the comments on current events on a blackboard in Monrovia,
Liberia, Saturday Aug. 2, 2014, as the deadly Ebola virus claims hundreds of lives
in the West Africa region.
A Liberian street vendor wears protective gloves as a precaution to prevent
infection with the deadly Ebola virus while transacting business with customers in
downtown Monrovia, Liberia
A nurse from Liberia sprays preventives to disinfect the waiting area for visitors at
the ELWA Hospital where a US doctor Kent Bradley is being quarantined in the
hospitals isolation unit having contracted the Ebola virus, Monrovia, Liberia
Staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse put on protective gear in the ELWA
hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia
Body of evidence: health workers transport a casket of a nun whose death
resulted from an Ebola infection in Zaire in 1995
Peter Piot in Yambuku, northern Congo (then Zaire), in 1976, where he
was part of the original team to discover the Ebola virus
A member of Doctors Without Borders helps to unload protection and
healthcare materials in Guinea
Doctors in protective gear work inside the Medecins Sans Frontieres
isolation ward as Guinea faced the worst ever outbreak of the Ebola virus
The Liberian daughter of a woman that died of Ebola is in tears as her
mother is taken for burial from the isolation unit in Foya, Lofa County,
Liberia July 2, 2014.
Protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after
being used in a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian
capital Monrovia on July 24.
A nurse from Liberia disinfects the waiting area for visitors at the ELWA Hospital
in Monrovia, Liberia, July 28, 2014, where US doctor Kent Bradley was
quarantined after contracting the Ebola virus.
A boy walks through an empty class room on July 31, 2014 in Monrovia. Liberia
announced on July 30 it was shutting all schools and placing "non-essential"
government workers on 30 days' leave in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly
Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa.
Liberian Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyensuah talks with protesters on the
importance of burying Ebola victims in Johnsonville outside Monrovia, Liberia
August 2, 2014. The military police were called in to control youths from the
Johnsonville community who staged a protest against the government's decision
to bury Ebola victims in Johnsonville.
Liberian children wash hands before entering a church service to pray for
the end of Ebola at the Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia,
August 3, 2014
Liberian Christians hold holy communion in gloves to avoid contact with the
deadly Ebola virus during a service at the Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia,
Liberia August 3, 2014.
Nigeria health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala
Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian
authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most
populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop
the spread of a disease.
People queue outside a bank as fear spreads that some buildings dealing with the
public might be closed due to the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, in the city of
Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.
Liberian members of the Women of Peace Building Network in Monrovia, Liberia, August 4, 2014 as they
observe two weeks of fasting and praying for God's intervention in eradicating the deadly Ebola virus.
According to statistics from the United Nations, 887 people have died from the Ebola outbreak, making it
the worst ever in history. The Liberian government has ordered that the bodies of people killed by the
Ebola virus must be cremated following strong reactions from communities objecting against the burial of
Ebola victims in their areas.
A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of
the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging
in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and
most feared of which is Ebola.
Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wearing protective gear walk outside the
isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on July 23, 2014 in Conakry. Ebola first emerged in 1976
in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river in that country
Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) put on protective gear at the isolation ward of
the Donka Hospital, on July 23, 2014 in Conakry.
In this 2014 photo provided by the Samaritan's Purse aid organization, Dr. Kent Brantly, left,
treats an Ebola patient at the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia,
Liberia. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, the North Carolina-based aid organization said Brantly
tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia.

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wear protective gear at the isolation ward of the
Donka Hospital in Conakry on July 23, 2014.
In Monday, July 15, 2014 photo, a woman, center, walks near the Arwa clinic, center rear, that
was closed after the clinic doctor got infected by the Ebola virus in the capital city of
Freetown, Sierra Leone.
A 10-year-old boy is
given a medical
blouse after being
taken out of
quarantine following
his mother's death
caused by the ebola
virus, in the Christian
charity Samaritan's
Purse Ebola
treatment center, at
the ELWA hospital in
the Liberian capital
Monrovia, on July 24,
In this photo taken on Monday, July 28, 2014, people hang out in a street under a banner
which warns people to be cautious about Ebola, in Monrovia, Liberia.
A picture taken
on July 24, 2014
shows a staff
member of the
Christian charity
Purse wearing
protective whilst
entering a room
where patients
are kept in the
ELWA hospital
in the Liberian
A pharmacist searches for drugs in a pharmacy in Lagos on July 26, 2014. Nigeria was on
alert against the possible spread of Ebola on July 26, a day after the first confirmed death
from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital.
Members of the Guinean Red Cross stick information concerning the Ebola virus during an
awareness campaign on April 11, 2014 in Conakry. Guinea has been hit by the most severe
strain of the virus, known as Zaire Ebola, which has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in
past outbreaks, and for which there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment. The World
Health Organization (WHO) has described west Africa's first outbreak among humans as one
of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with
Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry on April 14, 2014.
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting
on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people
infected with the Ebola virus are being treated.
In this March 28, 2014 photo provided by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), healthcare
workers from the organization prepare isolation and treatment areas for their Ebola virus operations in
Gueckedou, Guinea. One preacher advocated fasting and prayer to spare people from a virus that usually
leads to a horrible death. Some people pray that the Ebola virus stays confined to a rural district. Others
are unruffled and say the outbreak will blow over.
Doctors Without Borders staff members carry the body of a person killed by viral
haemorrhagic fever at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Gueckedou, on April 1, 2014.
Volunteers lower a corpse, which is prepared with safe burial practices to ensure it does not
pose a health risk to others and stop the chain of person-to-person transmission of Ebola,
into a grave in Kailahun August 2, 2014.
A volunteer walks at a cemetery near the Mediciens Sans Frontieres treatment
centre in Kailahun August 2, 2014.
Volunteers prepare to remove the bodies of people who were suspected of contracting Ebola
and died in the community in the village of Pendebu, north of Kenema August 2 , 2014.
Health workers, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, prepare for work outside an
isolation unit in Foya District, Lofa County, Liberia in this July 2014 UNICEF
handout photo.
Girls look at a poster, distributed by UNICEF, bearing information on and illustrations of best
practices that help prevent the spread of Ebola in Voinjama, Lofa County, Liberia in this April
2014 UNICEF handout photo.
A UNICEF worker speaks with drivers of motorcycle taxis about the symptoms of Ebola
virus disease (EVD) and best practices to help prevent its spread in Voinjama, Lofa County,
Liberia in this April 2014 UNICEF handout photo.
Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients
kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone July
20, 2014.
Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) put on their protective gear
before entering an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra
Leone July 20, 2014.
Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone June 25,
Medical staff take a blood sample from a suspected Ebola patient at the government
hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone July 10, 2014.
A health worker removes his protective suit as he emerges from an isolation area
at the Medecins sans Frontieres Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone
July 20, 2014.
A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital
in Kenema, Sierra Leone July 10, 2014.
Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in
Conakry, Guinea, on March 31, 2014.
Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local
government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone June 30, 2014.
Government health workers are seen during the administration of blood tests for the Ebola
virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone June 25, 2014.
A view of the isolation block of a hospital where Ebola victims are being treated in
Macenta, Guinea March 27, 2014.
Workers from Doctors Without Borders unload emergency medical supplies to deal with an
Ebola outbreak in Conakry, Guinea March 23, 2014.
Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in
Kenema, Sierra Leone June 25, 2014.
Medical staff put on protective gear in Kenema government hospital before taking
a sample from a suspected Ebola patient in Kenema, Sierra Leone July 10, 2014.
A scientist separates blood cells from plasma cells to isolate any Ebola RNA in
order to test for the virus at the European Mobile Laboratory in Gueckedou,
Guinea April 3, 2014.
View of an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in
Ebola virus disease

Key facts

•Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a
severe, often fatal illness in humans.

•EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.

•EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa,
near tropical rainforests.

•The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human
population through human-to-human transmission.

•Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of
the Ebola virus.

•Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific
treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara,
Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was
in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes
its name.

Genus Ebolavirus is 1 of 3 members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus),
along with genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus
Ebolavirus comprises 5 distinct species:

•Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
•Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)
•Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
•Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
•Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).

BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been associated with large EVD
outbreaks in Africa, whereas RESTV and TAFV have not. The RESTV
species, found in Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, can
infect humans, but no illness or death in humans from this species has
been reported to date.


Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with
the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In
Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected
chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines
found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human
transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken
skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other
bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments
contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have
direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in
the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can
still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery
from illness.

Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients
with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact
with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.
Signs and symptoms

•EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized
by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle
pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by
vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver
function, and in some cases, both internal and external
bleeding. 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.
•The incubation period, that is, the time interval from
infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21

Other diseases that should be ruled out before a diagnosis of EVD
can be made include: malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, cholera,
leptospirosis, plague, rickettsiosis, relapsing fever, meningitis,
hepatitis and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.

Ebola virus infections can be diagnosed definitively in a laboratory
through several types of tests:

•antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
•antigen detection tests
•serum neutralization test
•reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
•electron microscopy
•virus isolation by cell culture.
•Samples from patients are an extreme biohazard risk; testing
should be conducted under maximum biological containment
Vaccine and treatment

No licensed vaccine for EVD is available. Several
vaccines are being tested, but none are available
for clinical use.

Severely ill patients require intensive supportive
care. Patients are frequently dehydrated and
require oral rehydration with solutions containing
electrolytes or intravenous fluids.

No specific treatment is available. New drug
therapies are being evaluated.
Natural host of Ebola virus

In Africa, fruit bats, particularly species of the genera Hypsignathus
monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata, are considered
possible natural hosts for Ebola virus. As a result, the geographic
distribution of Ebolaviruses may overlap with the range of the fruit bats.

Ebola virus in animals

Although non-human primates have been a source of infection for humans,
they are not thought to be the reservoir but rather an accidental host like
human beings. Since 1994, Ebola outbreaks from the EBOV and TAFV
species have been observed in chimpanzees and gorillas.

RESTV has caused severe EVD outbreaks in macaque monkeys (Macaca
fascicularis) farmed in Philippines and detected in monkeys imported into
the USA in 1989, 1990 and 1996, and in monkeys imported to Italy from
Philippines in 1992.

Since 2008, RESTV viruses have been detected during several outbreaks
of a deadly disease in pigs in People’s Republic of China and Philippines.
Asymptomatic infection in pigs has been reported and experimental
inoculations have shown that RESTV cannot cause disease in pigs.
Prevention and control

Controlling Reston ebolavirus in domestic animals
No animal vaccine against RESTV is available. Routine cleaning
and disinfection of pig or monkey farms (with sodium hypochlorite
or other detergents) should be effective in inactivating the virus.

If an outbreak is suspected, the premises should be quarantined
immediately. Culling of infected animals, with close supervision of
burial or incineration of carcasses, may be necessary to reduce
the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Restricting or banning
the movement of animals from infected farms to other areas can
reduce the spread of the disease.

As RESTV outbreaks in pigs and monkeys have preceded
human infections, the establishment of an active animal health
surveillance system to detect new cases is essential in providing
early warning for veterinary and human public health authorities.
Reducing the risk of Ebola infection in people

In the absence of effective treatment and a human vaccine, raising
awareness of the risk factors for Ebola infection and the protective
measures individuals can take is the only way to reduce human
infection and death.

Pig farms in Africa can play a role in the amplification of infection
because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms. Appropriate
biosecurity measures should be in place to limit transmission. For
RESTV, educational public health messages should focus on reducing
the risk of pig-to-human transmission as a result of unsafe animal
husbandry and slaughtering practices, and unsafe consumption of
fresh blood, raw milk or animal tissue. Gloves and other appropriate
protective clothing should be worn when handling sick animals or their
tissues and when slaughtering animals. In regions where RESTV has
been reported in pigs, all animal products (blood, meat and milk)
should be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Controlling infection in health-care settings

Human-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus is primarily associated with direct or
indirect contact with blood and body fluids. Transmission to health-care workers has
been reported when appropriate infection control measures have not been observed.

It is not always possible to identify patients with EBV early because initial symptoms
may be non-specific. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply
standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in
all work practices at all times. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene,
the use of personal protective equipment (according to the risk of splashes or other
contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices.

Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus
should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to
avoid any exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids and direct unprotected
contact with the possibly contaminated environment. When in close contact (within 1
metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face
shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and
gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).

Laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from suspected human and
animal Ebola cases for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in
suitably equipped laboratories.
The Ebola virus and it’s close relative the Marburg virus are members of the
Filoviridae family. These viruses are the causative agents of severe
hemorrhagic fever, a disease with a fatality rate of up to 90%. The Ebola virus
infects mainly the capillary endothelium and several types of immune cells. The
symptoms of Ebola infection include maculopapular rash, petechiae, purpura,
ecchymoses, dehydration and hematomas.

Since Ebola was first described in 1976, there have been several epidemics of
this disease. Hundreds of people have died because of Ebola infections, mainly
in Zaire, Sudan, Congo and Uganda. In addition, several fatalities have
occurred because of accidents in laboratories working with the virus. Currently,
a number of scientists claim that terrorists may use Ebola as a biological

In the 3D model presented in this study, Ebola-encoded structures are shown in
maroon, and structures from human cells are shown in grey. The Ebola model is
based on X-ray analysis, NMR spectroscopy, and general virology data
published in the last two decades.
cast Ebola virus disease

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Music Lorena McKennitt

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