JUN 19, 2019 11:28 AM PDT

Ebola Outbreaks Are Going Undetected

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

We are currently living during the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Since August 2018 more than 2000 people have been affected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the WHO.

The deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak on record began in West Africa. That outbreak infected more than 26,000 people. Over 11,000 of them died over two years. Much of the spread was due to traditional burial rituals which require handling of the dead. It was difficult for public health officials to stop these traditional practices. Those tasked with burning the bodies of the deceased were largely ousted from their communities for their role in infection prevention.

The virus enters a person’s body through a cut in the skin or the mucous membranes. The virus is thought to be transmitted from bats via bodily fluids and is capable of being spread to other primates in addition to humans.

The symptoms of Ebola initially present quite similarly to the flu. Patient’s report body aches, exhaustion, stomach pain, and sometimes vision problems. Most often, these symptoms waste no time, quickly escalating into a hemorrhagic fever. This causes internal and external bleeding, organ failure, and often death.

Although each outbreak differs, because Ebola is actually a group of viruses, survival once infected is essentially a coin flip. Doctors do their best to maintain homeostasis in patients, but fatality rates still range from 50 to 90%, depending on the particular Ebola strain.

Shockingly, many Ebola outbreaks may have gone unnoticed. The outbreaks we do recognize are large enough to draw international attention. Smaller outbreaks though are likely more common than we are aware.

Researchers were able to demonstrate this using computer modeling. They were using data from the deadliest outbreak, in 2014, for their study. The numbers revealed that dozens of cases might have never been picked up by medical monitoring. This may occur for several reasons, including being mistaken for another similar illness.

This suggests more monitoring is needed to help contain outbreaks. Additionally, education on the signs and symptoms of Ebola is needed in at-risk areas to help prevent the spreading of the virus.



 

Sources: Khan AcademyPLOS

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
APR 06, 2021
Infographics
Psychedelic Medicine 101
APR 06, 2021
Psychedelic Medicine 101
As clinical trials for psychedelics progress, interest in psychedelics is increasing among pharmaceutical firms, clinici ...
MAR 22, 2021
Microbiology
A Cavity-Forming Germ Gets a Little Help From a Gene Cluster
MAR 22, 2021
A Cavity-Forming Germ Gets a Little Help From a Gene Cluster
There are many microbes that live in the human mouth, and while some are harmless, others like Streptococcus mutans are ...
MAR 26, 2021
Health & Medicine
Could Cannabinoids Help Tame Essential Tremor?
MAR 26, 2021
Could Cannabinoids Help Tame Essential Tremor?
New research suggests that cannabinoids could help those who have an essential tremor — a nervous system (neurolog ...
APR 06, 2021
Health & Medicine
Is There an Upper Limit to the Benefits of Exercise?
APR 06, 2021
Is There an Upper Limit to the Benefits of Exercise?
By now, I am sure that you all know that one of the best ways to improve your health is by running, jogging, walking, or ...
APR 06, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
New Insight Into a Crucial Immune Cell
APR 06, 2021
New Insight Into a Crucial Immune Cell
Dendritic cells are a crucial part of the immune response; they look out for the presence of pathogenic invaders like vi ...
APR 08, 2021
Immunology
What's That Frozen Pizza Doing to Your Immune System?
APR 08, 2021
What's That Frozen Pizza Doing to Your Immune System?
In a recent study, scientists found that commonly-used chemical additives added to processed foods can have toxic effect ...
Loading Comments...