Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a viral infection caused by the Ebola virus, a rare but deadly virus. This is considered one of the lethal viral infections, and has a high mortality rate during outbreak.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever was first noted in Zaire (currently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC) in 1976. Since that time, there have been multiple outbreaks of Ebola virus, and five strains have been identified; four of the strains are responsible for the high death rates. The four Ebola strains are termed as follows: Zaire, Sudan, Tai Forest, and Bundibugyo virus, with Zaire being the most lethal strain. A fifth strain termed Reston has been found in the Philippines. The strain infects primates, pigs, and humans and causes few if any symptoms and no deaths in humans.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. It results in coagulation abnormalities; including gastrointestinal bleeding, development of a rash, cytokine release, damage to the liver, and large amount of viruses in the blood.
Risk factors for Ebola virus infection are the following:
- Travelling to areas where Ebola virus have been reported.
- Contact with animals, such as primates, in areas where infections have been reported.
- Eating or handling “bush meat”, or the meat of wild animals, including hoofed animals, primates, bats, and rodents.
- Contact to person with the infection.
- Researchers who study Ebola.