Ebola is a viral infection that triggered outbreaks in some African countries. An individual can become infected by the Ebola virus if directly exposed to blood or bodily fluids of an infected individual.
Most individuals are infected via direct exposure to the body of the individual or cleaning up infected body fluids. Remember that an individual is considered infectious if the urine, blood, stool or other secretions contain the virus.
Close exposure to an individual infected by Ebola is required to be at risk for acquiring the condition. It is important to note that those who are infected do not spread the infection until shortly before the symptoms develop. Understandably, those who are infected will not spread the condition for extended periods before knowing that they are infected.
What are the indications?
An individual infected by Ebola has the following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Muscle and muscle pain
- Severe muscular weakness
- Sore throat
These symptoms manifest abruptly and start between 2-21 days after being infected. An infected individual can develop vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, rash and diminished liver and kidney function. In some cases, bleeding within the body and from the eyes, ears, mouth or nose can occur.
Management of Ebola
Individuals who are infected with Ebola should be placed under isolation in an intensive care unit. Even today, there is no proven treatment for Ebola but possible treatment choices are being developed and tested.
Supportive care is vital in managing the condition. This includes the administration of intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy. The loss of fluid in the body or dehydration is likely to occur and might be severe. If supportive care is provided early, the better the chance for survival.