Another disgrace for Africa

During 2013 an Ebola outbreak in West Africa spread towards Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. In March 2014, a total of 86 people were infected (59 dead). Five months later, on 20 August,  2615 people were infected (1427 dead). That is a hard evidence of its rapid propagation.

But what is Ebola?

The Ebola is a virus of the genus Ebolavirus and along with the genders Marburgvirus and Cuevavirus conforms Filoviridae family (filovirus or the virus thread like). Ebola was detected in 1976 for the first time in Nzara (Sudan) and Yambuku (Congo).


There are five different species of Ebola virus:

the Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV),

the Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV),

the Reston ebolavirus (RESTV),

the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) and

Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).

Species that have generated large outbreaks in Africa are BDBV, EBOV and SUDV.

These viruses cause a disease known as “hemorrhagic fever” with high mortality (up to 90%). The outbreak originated in villages and remote places, near the rainforest of central and western Africa. After a variable incubation period (between 2 and 21 days), has several symptoms, such as fever, intense weakness and muscle pain, headaches, vomits, diarrhea, rashes, renal dysfunction and liver bleeding.

The clinical analysis of patients show a decrease in the number of white blood (leukocytes and platelets) as well as an increase of liver enzymes in the blood (clear evidence of lysis or destruction of liver tissue).

The diagnosis is tricky because of symptomatic picture, so common in other viral processes. Therefore be ruled out diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, the shigellosis, cholera, leptospirosis, plague, the rickettsioses, meningitis, hepatitis or recurring fever. It is best performed laboratory tests such as ELISA (enzyme immunosorvent test), antigen detection, the seroneutralització, RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction with reverse transcriptase) or cell culture. There is no specific vaccine for humans or for animals.

As regular guests, are some species of bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata). Primates, including humans, are accidental hosts.


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