Ebola In Sub-Saharan Africa

By: Kate Nelson

Background

Ebola first appeared in 1976 through two out breaks in Sub-Saharan Africa. It occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. The next outbreak was in western Sub-Saharan Africa in March of 2014. That outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak since it was first discovered.

What Ebola Does To Your Body

From the time the virus enters your body to the time you get symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not contagious until they have developed symptoms of Ebola. The first symptoms are on going fever, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. Following those symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases internal and external bleeding. Your body can also become very low on white blood cells.

How Ebola Spreads

Fruit bats are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola was introduced to the human population through the touching of blood, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals dead or in the rain forest. After that human is infected with the virus and develops symptoms, human to human contact like blood, saliva, sweat, vomit, and any other bodily fluids can easily spread the disease quickly to others.

Additional Facts

  • The average fatality rate is 50 percent.
  • Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, all in West Africa, are the three countries that have been hit hardest.
  • Guinea has had 904 deaths out of 1,540 cases. Sierra Leone has had 1,259 deaths out of 3,706 cases.
  • Four people have contracted Ebola within the United States, and there has been one death.
  • There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but two potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.
  • You can not get Ebola through water, food, or air.
  • There are five kinds of Ebola viruses: Zaire has a 79% death rate, Sudan a 53% death rate, Bundibugyo a 27% death rate, Reston a 0% death rate, and Tai Forest a 0% death rate.
  • Household bleach and other disinfectants kill Ebola.