What is Ebola?

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Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
Ebola is a virus in the family of hemorrhagic fever viruses. In this video, I will discuss the origins of Ebola, as well as the symptoms.
Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebola virus species, four of which are known to cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans. Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.

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Ebola is one of the deadliest types of hemorrhagic fevers, which are viral infections that cause severe bleeding. In people with Ebola, the virus makes blood vessels weak, which leads to the bleeding. A high fever also accompanies the illness. Death occurs in up to 90% of people who are infected with Ebola. The illness occurs in sporadic outbreaks, always originating in equatorial Afria. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola has been by far the worst on record. 

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Ebola

Ebola

Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It is caused by a family of viruses that originate in central and west Africa. The disease is rare and occurs in sporadic outbreaks. Ebola is spread through direct co...

ntact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals or objects, such as needles or bedsheets, that have been contaminated with the virus. Your risk of contracting Ebola is very low unless you visit an area where it is widespread. There are no approved treatments for the disease, but some experimental treatments have shown promise. Vaccines are currently under development.
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