Ebola Ready Reckoner
In times of an outbreak, panic and hype surround the disease. Read on to differentiate fact from fiction.
♦ What is Ebolavirus?
It is a genus containing the following speciesBundibugyo ebolavirusReston ebolavirus Sudan ebolavirusTai Forest ebolavirus Zaire ebolavirus
These are RNA viruses causing hemorrhagic fever (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease
). Symptoms appear 8-10 days after contracting the disease and include fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches. Typically nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver, kidneys and in some cases with internal and external bleeding.
♦ How does one get infected
As many virus diseases (HIV, for example) this disease too has come to infect humans through primates. However, the reservoir for the viruses are thought to be bats in the African jungles. Close contact with body fluids
(blood, vomit, saliva, etc.) of an infected person/animal is responsible for the spread of this disease.
♦ Debunking some Ebola myths
1. Ebola spreads through air
No. Except the Reston ebolavirus none of the othe species are spread via aerosols (droplets in the air). Reston is shed in the form of droplets only by pigs. If you're exposed to a pig infected by this strain, the chances of you dying are slim. The disease causing capability of this particular strain is not good enough to kill.
In fact, as +Tara C. Smith
mentioned in a G+ HOA (see link below) according to Prof Peter Piot (the scientist who discovered ebola) even if you are sitting next to an ebola infected individual on the subway, you might not get infection. Only close contact
with infected body fluids leads to an infection.
2. _ This is the Zombie Apocalyspe_No
, it's not. And though we must all be alert and vigilant, we should not panic! If contained, this disease can be controlled. Please help in spreading awareness in your community about the prevention strategies. Once we understand the science behind it, everything falls into perspective.
3. The ebola patients in the US are being treated by some secret serum
The serum is not a secret panacea developed exclusively for US citizens. And neither is it some devil concoction. The serum is a cocktail of antibodies raised in laboratory animals (in Biosafety level 4 laboratories). Please listen to +Vincent Racaniello
's (Earth's Virology Professor) take on this aspect in the hangout. As he says, scientists are not a part of any conspiracy. They are doing their job. The benefit of the community is the bottomline for all research.Spread awareness and not rumors!
Following are some very useful links:
This week in virology episode 'Ebola! Don’t panic'. Listen to +Vincent Racaniello
and friends discussing Ebola. http://www.twiv.tv/2014/08/10/twiv-297/
(You can also find some cool links on this page)+Science on Google+
's hangout on air 'Explaining Ebola' featuring Prof +Vincent Racaniello
and Dr +Tara C. Smith https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cdm401indn4k2figq90cra1i8g4?cfem=1
(a must watch for all!)
“Is Ebola virus going to kill me?”https://medium.com/@JohnSkylar/is-ebola-virus-going-to-kill-me-daf7fa3b0f2c
(an article by +John Skylar
that explains it all, came across this article through TWiV)
Some of my previous posts about Ebola
Interview with Prof Peter Piothttps://plus.google.com/u/0/+DeekshaTare/posts/F7j58SC7XL2
The Hunt for Ebolahttps://plus.google.com/u/0/+DeekshaTare/posts/SqRUhRVBSS3
Ebola Strikes Uganda yet againhttps://plus.google.com/u/0/+DeekshaTare/posts/8nyyZMvj71m
What the virus looks likehttps://plus.google.com/u/0/+sciencesunday/posts/XtGW6xsKPM3
Picture source: ViralZone #ScienceEveryday #viromania #ebolaoutbreak