Immune System Project by: Frankie English

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Source of pathogens:

The Ebola hemorrahagic virus (EBOV) is a serious illness which is fatal if not treated. It is unknown where the virus comes from, but experts think it originated from bats(specifically the fruit bat). The first human outbreak occurred in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing over 600 deaths. Ebola blocks the signaling to neutrophils and specifically infect the liver, kidney, spleen and brain.


The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact or person-to-person contact. It can get in the body via a cut or open wound or your mucous membranes. The first person comes into contact (contact transmission) with a bat or primate who is infected or the fluids of the animal and begins spreading it, causing an outbreak. Ebola is spread through blood or bodily fluids, object (needles and syringes), and animals.

The incubation period for Ebola 2 and 21 days after exposure to the virus. The time averages about 8 to 10 days, however the virus can start of with common symptoms. During this time period the virus is beginning the first stages of it attack by taking over the cells and multiplying. The host body starts to fight back but in most cases isn't successful with the initial defense, the body first begins to produce cytokines.

Ebola targets your entire immune system with wide spread inflammation. It damages many tissues and kills cells. The main organs that are damaged are the liver and kidneys. It destroys the liver by wiping out cells the a necessary in coagulation production and plasma components. There is also gastrointestinal damage which leads to an excess in diarrhea release which ultimately causes dehydration. Blood pressure and circulatory failure are also common with the adrenal gland being tampered with; the virus cripples cells needed to make steroids and regulate blood pressure. Destruction of the circulatory system causes oxygen deprivation to the organs causing failure to occur.

Ebola virus

First Line of Defense:

The initial response to a virus is affected by Ebola. It inhibit the response of natural killer cells (destroy virus-infected cells), macrophages (phagocyte, that communicates with other cells by producing the internal bombs, cytokines), and dendritic cells (present antigens and processes them, help with immune memory) . Dendritic cells and macrophages are the main targets of Ebola. The first line of defense starts with basic and unspecific defense mechanisms. Elimination is a first defense, it causes diarrhea and vomiting; this tries to get the pathogen out of the body. The skin acts as a barrier for pathogens, Ebola gets into the body when there is a cut in this barrier.

Second Line of Defense:

Phagocytes begin to devour and destroy the viral invaders. Mast cells, which are key components in the inflammatory response, release histamine (inflammatory chemical that dilates blood vessels and attracts white blood cell's to inflamed site). Then there's a temperature increase that should cause phagocytes to kill temp. sensitive pathogens. Phagocytes are then attracted to the inflammatory response of harmed cells. Natural killer cells begin to kill the virus infected cells as well. Macrophages communicate b producing cytokines. Fever helps destroy the microbes. Fever increases the interferon production helping to eliminate Ebola.

Symptoms for the Second Line of Defense Include:

  • fever
  • red eyes

  • rashes

  • weight loss

  • bruising

Acquired immune defense:

By this point Ebola has most likely taken over you immune defense. Natural killer cells and lymphocytes are supposed to have helped in the defense, however the virus ha caused them to go through apoptosis. Immunological system is overrun and Ebola begins to kill helper T cells and begins to affect organs. It also over takes B cells and begins making more copies of itself. The humoral system and cellular system's are supposed to aid in the attack on the foreign substance but don't get the chance.

Symptoms for Aquired Immune Response:

  • unexplained hemorrhaging

  • bleeding from orifices

  • coagulation deficiency

  • internal bleeding

  • rashes

  • severe weight loss

  • liver failure

  • kidney failure

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Another immune defense is unfavorable PH and lysosome enzyme these eliminate the virus via different PH levels and different antiviral (antimicrobial) agents that kill the pathogen and stops the spread of them.

The symptoms associated with this defense are

  • abdominal pain

  • diarrhea

  • vomiting

  • dehydration


No vaccines or medicines approved by the FDA have been released for Ebola. The most that can be done is the treatment of the symptoms and complications and intensive care given effectively. IV's for fluids can be given to eliminate the chance of dehydration, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, and treatments of infections can also be the difference between survival and death. The main chance of survival is dependent upon the persons immune response and the quality of their intensive care.

A person who has survived Ebola has about a 10 year life span for their antibodies, this does not technically mean they cannot contract Ebola again but that they are much less likely to compared to someone who has not been infected. The memory cells help in this "immunity".


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