The Ebola Virus Is A Zoonotic Disease Biology Essay


Zoonotic disease is a type of disease that is transmitted from animal to human. There is a lot of type of zoonotic diseases around the word such as swine flu, west Nile virus, monkey pox, cryptosporidiosis, etc but this paper will focus more on Ebola virus. Ebola virus was named after the Ebola river in Northern Zaire now called republic democratic of Congo which passes near the site of the microbe's first know epidemic in Yambuku in a small village Zaire Africa (Garett 100). Ebola's first outbreak was recorded in 1976 and the Yambuku hospital spreads the virus quickly due to unhealthy conditions and unsterilized needles. Later in the same year another outbreak of the Ebola occurred, this time in Sudan. Together, over five hundred cases were reported. (Oldstone 133).

The history of Ebola does not have a specific time in which it was founded. Many scientists believe that the virus has been around for as long as 500 years B.C. Research has figured out that the Ebola virus remains stable at room temperature (20°C), but it is known to be destroyed at 60°C. Research has also discovered that Ebola is usually 920 nm in length, 80 nm in diameter, and have a membrane that is stolen from the host cell. (Regis 145)

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The exact location of where the virus occurs in nature remains unknown. However, based on the evidence and the nature of Ebola, researchers believe that the virus comes from animal host that are native to the African Continent, while other scientist are not sure which animals serve as hosts or if mosquitoes or ticks are involved in the lifecycle of the virus. A similar host has infected monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. (Ryan 242) Also in 2002 there have been ongoing reports of Ebola in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. (Dudley 22) The cases are believed to have been due to contact with a gorilla, whose remains came back positive for the Ebola virus. Mbomo district has reported thirty-two cases of Ebola where twenty people died, and the Kelle district has restored twenty-five cases for a total of twenty-three deaths. (Oldstone 134) Ebola has been present in Central Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Zaire, Sudan, Gabon, Ivory Coast, West Africa, and most recently Texas.

Before getting into the life cycle of Ebola there are some things that must be clarified first. Ebola multiplies very rapidly and powerfully and within no time the infected cell becomes enclosed with crystal like blocks or virus particles. These virus particles are already getting ready to replicate. The crystal blocks form at the centre of the cell and begin to grow outwards, and migrate to the cell wall. Once reaching the cell wall, the blocks dissolve into hundred of individual virus particles. The Ebola pieces then creep into the bloodstream of the host and the virus keeps attaching itself to cells everywhere. Here the procedure of replication is then repeated until the tissue becomes saturated with virus crystal blocks. (Garrett 156)

The life cycle of Ebola is unknown, but what is known is the effects and what happens to the virus once inside a host. Once inside the virus attacks every organ and transforms just about every part of the body into a digested slime of virus particles. The seven proteins that are assembled make the virus work by dominating the body as the virus makes copies of itself. (Bueche 161) Small blood clots begin to appear in the blood stream and get slower and begin to thicken. The clots stick to the walls of the blood vessels, because the clots fit close together in a variety of different ways. The assortment of the clots thickness and the clots then drift through the bloodstream into the small capillaries, where they begin getting stuck. This then shuts off the blood supply to certain parts of the body, causing dead spots to appear in the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, small and large intestines, and all throughout the underlying skin. (Dudley 27) Some parts of the victims house the seven Ebola proteins and by this the virus begins chewing the body's structural proteins to make the dead spots appear. (Garrett 6) This then turns into mush, and the under layers of skin start to die. The skin then bubbles up with white blisters with red dots between them know as maculopapular rash. Rips appear in the skin and the blood pours from the rips and the spots grow and spread to form huge bruises on the victim's body as well as the inside. The skin grows soft and spongy and can tear off if it is touched with any kind of pressure. The mouth bleeds as well as the gums because the Ebola is eating away at it. Literally just about every opening in the body bleeds. (Regis 129) The surface of the tongue turns red and sloughs off and is swallowed or spit out. The tongues skin may be torn off because of vomiting. The back of the throat and the lining of the windpipe may also slough off and the dead tissue slides down the windpipe into the lungs or is coughed up. The heart muscle softens and the blood squeezes out of the heart muscle as the heart beats and it floods the chest cavity. The brain becomes clogged with dead blood cells and begins to not function properly. The Ebola attacks the lining of the eyeballs and most likely it may fill up with blood. Droplets of blood come streaming out the eyelids so it looks like you are crying blood. Some people my have a hemispherical stroke and the whole side of the body goes paralysed. The body it stripped of clotting material so the person just keeps bleeding and most likely the person will bleed to death.

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Ebola is classified as a level four pathogen meaning it is very lethal. Ebola is believed to be the deadliest viral disease by bleeding.

The infections with Ebola virus are very sensitive. Because the natural pool of the virus is unknown, the method in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined. Some scientists believe that the virus is mainly transmitted through contact with blood of an infected person or primate, either directly or indirectly. It is known that the virus is spread from person to person through direct contact with body fluids of an infected person. (Oldstone 132) People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with the virus. Exposure of the virus has occurred when health care workers treated individuals with Ebola without wearing protective clothing such as mask, and gloves. Ebola-Reston appeared in a primate research in Virginia, where it may have been transmitted from monkey to monkey through the air, but this is only common with one of the four strains of Ebola. This type of virus has not been known to spread because it has not been documented to affect humans in such areas as hospitals or in the household.

Ebola is a major threat to mankind and there are no ways to prevent the virus or to cure it. (Dudley 27) The virus can came come along at any time. There are limited ways to protect yourself from getting any strand of the Ebola virus. The symptoms of Ebola are horrific.

There are certain signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus that the human eye can detect. The most often characterized signs usually occur in the first days, they are sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, reddening of the eyes, headache, and sore throat. Some of those signs are then followed within a week by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, problems with the liver and kidneys, and internal and external bleeding. Within the last days the patients comes with other signs such as chills, loss of appetite, chest pain, life-threatening shock, depression, and blood that fails to clot. If a person does happen to live the recovery stage has some effects on a person too. Some of things that a person might experience during a recovery stage are loss of memory, central nervous system disorders, and loss of hair. (Garrett 100)

There is really no treatment for Ebola, but there have been many tests done on trying to find a cure. There is no vaccine for Ebola that are approved for human use, but there is an Ebola vaccine for laboratory animals. If there was a vaccine test that could be tested on humans the scientist would have to meet strict government regulations. In the development for a vaccine is very hard because of the cost for people of poor nations and the transportation for the test facility. There are many organizations such as the WHO (World Heath Organization), Doctors Without Boarders, and the International Federation of Red Cross as well as other organizations that try and continue working on educating people about the dangers of the Ebola virus while researchers attempt to learn about it. (Garret 211) Since the virus is lethal, clinical tests have not been easy to conduct and no concrete data is available as to the exact method of how Ebola is spread. However, one day the organizations hope that they can begin to control the spread and find a cure.

There are some safety precautions that can be taken to prevent the Ebola from spreading. Some of these preventions are easy for people in the United States to do, but in other countries where there is little money it is quite hard for them to get the correct safety products that are needed. Some of the safety materials that you can wear are gloves, mask, and gowns. (Ryan 169) Another one of the more obvious things that the healthcare workers could do is wash their hands before and after dealing with the patient. Isolating the victim from other people can help decrease the spreading of Ebola. In addition, needles and syringes need to be disposed of or sterilized, because in other countries around the world they only rinse the materials before using them again. This then leads to other people getting the virus and more lives are lost. There have been lots of books written about how to prevent the spread of Ebola from the victim to healthcare workers or other patients. Some of the steps in preventing the virus from spreading would be to make advanced preparations for Ebola. Some of these advances would be to inform all heath facility staff that Ebola is present, organize training for staff members on what to do with the patient, and make sure that people are trained to prepare and transport bodies for burial.

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