Malcolm Wells

Which Body System is Affected by Ebola?

Ebola affects the immune system where it attacks the dendritic cell whose job is to alert the immune system of oncoming virus or diseases and the monocytes and macrophages which are white blood cells that have the job clear away foreign organisms.

Normal Body System vs. Infected Body System

When functioning properly, the immune system identifies and attacks a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, while identifying them from the body’s own healthy tissue. When Ebola attacks the immune system it hijacks the functions of certain defense warriors known as dendritic cells-whose job is to alert the immune system to the incoming threat. Other targets include monocytes and macrophages, types of white blood cells whose job is to absorb and clear away foreign organisms.

Who is Infected?

Ebola is mainly based in West Africa but does not only infect Africans, There have been 4 cases of Ebola in America. Ebola doesn’t affect people of a certain gender or age.


It is thought that the fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural hosts of Ebola.

But other tropical animals in Africa are believed to carry the virus include gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, porcupines, and forest antelope.


First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (ex. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes. It can be difficult to distinguish Ebola from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Ebola causes the immune system to go into overdrive.

  • Severe bleeding

  • Organ failure

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Headache

  • Sore Throat


  • Oral rehydration therapy (drinking slightly sweetened and salty water).

  • There is no vaccine yet but a number of special treatments are being studied.

  • The patient hopefully has a strong immune system.

Prognosis (mortality rate and life expectancy)

When seriously infected, many people die in an average of 10 days as the blood fails to clot and bleeding occurs. The incubation period, the time infected with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.
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I selected Ebola because the biggest outbreak ever has occurred in the past year. Ebola was on the news almost everyday for about 2 months or more so I wanted to learn more about it.

Works Cited

LiveScience. TechMedia Network. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.livescience.com/>.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/>.

"Ebola Virus Disease." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease>.

"Science News, Articles, and Information - Scientific American." Scientific American Global RSS. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/>.

"TeensHealth." TeensHealth. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://teenshealth.org/>.

"WHO | World Health Organization." WHO | World Health Organization. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.who.int/>.

"We've Got Answers." General Knowledge Questions and Answers – Kgb Answers. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.kgbanswers.com/>.