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
OCT 02, 2020
Immunology
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
OCT 02, 2020
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
Blood clotting helps stem the bleeding from a wound, suppressing blood loss and stopping pathogenic microorganisms from ...
OCT 06, 2020
Microbiology
Scarlet Fever 'Superclones' Pose Rising Public Health Threat
OCT 06, 2020
Scarlet Fever 'Superclones' Pose Rising Public Health Threat
More than 100 years ago, the world faced waves of scarlet fever epidemics; between around 1820 and 1880 there were sever ...
OCT 15, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Gene Variants Influence Aging and Mobility in the Elderly
OCT 15, 2020
Gene Variants Influence Aging and Mobility in the Elderly
Small changes in a gene that is involved in controlling the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine could influence how ...
OCT 15, 2020
Microbiology
WHO Data Suggests Remdesivir Has No Effect on COVID-19 Infections
OCT 15, 2020
WHO Data Suggests Remdesivir Has No Effect on COVID-19 Infections
While the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, an International consortium including researchers has come to the conclu ...
OCT 25, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
OCT 25, 2020
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
Ewing sarcoma is a rare kind of cancer that tends to impact young people and occurs in bones or the tissue around them. ...
OCT 29, 2020
Microbiology
Metabolomics and the Microbiome
OCT 29, 2020
Metabolomics and the Microbiome
The average person contains large variations in bacteria from the mouth, the skin, sweat, and in the stomach and intesti ...
Loading Comments...