Ebola is a virus that initially
causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat and It
progresses to vomiting, diarrhea, and both internal and external bleeding.
People are infected when they have direct
contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feaces
or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola and patients tend to die from
dehydration and multiple organ failure.
Ebola was discovered in 1976, when
there were two deadly outbreaks of the disease. One was in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, the former Zaire, in a village near the Ebola river, hence
the virus’s name. However, exactly where Ebola comes from remains something of
People are not the “natural
hosts” of Ebola. And in every outbreak, the virus has transferred to
humans from another animal species. Fruit bats are a very likely culprit – but
this has not been definitively confirmed
there a vaccine?
Yes, there is. It is 99% effective
and more than 161,000 people have received it.
However, not everybody is vaccinated
– only those who come into direct contact with an Ebola patient, and people who
come into contact with them. And some of those people refuse to take it.
People give a variety of reasons for
not taking the vaccine, including:
They may have religious beliefs that do not permit them
to take vaccines
They may think they do not need it
They may not believe in Ebola
The vaccine, made by Merck, was
developed during the epidemic in West Africa and has been available throughout
the latest outbreak.
It has proven effective but is in relatively short supply, so the WHO has recommended a second vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson to complement it.H