Ebola Virus is one of the 30 species of viruses that can cause haemorrhagic fever. There are five subtypes of Ebola virus namely Sudan Ebola, Ivory Coast Ebola, Zaire Ebola, Reston Ebola and Bundibugyo Ebola.

These viruses are transmitted via two mechanisms: 1. Primary transmission and 2. Secondary transmission.

Primary transmission is when persons contact this disease by traveling to or living in endemic areas of the disease like West and East Africa and consume animals harbouring this virus such as bats, dogs, pig and some primates like chimpanzee and monkey including some species of bush meat like squirrel and grass cutter.

Some of these animals may harbour this virus without it causing disease in them. These animals are described as reservoirs of human disease.

In some cases, disease and death can also occur. Do not eat a sick animal: that is the golden rule!

Secondary transmission is in the form of direct person to person contact like in doctors or nurses caring for Ebola patients, relatives of infected persons, those who prepared dead victims for burial and other contacts.

The symptoms of Ebola virus

The symptoms of Ebola virus depends on the stage of the disease. Incubation period for the different subtypes vary but generally range between 8 and 21 days. Most death occur at about the 18 to 25 days.

Generally, recognized and most popular symptoms include fever, headache, conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, other forms of mucocutanous inflammation, bleeding from multiple sites, generalized body pain.

Not all person who contact this virus die. Some survivors have been recorded although they may develop chronic symptoms.

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Written by: Ikechi Gbenimacho (a Physician and Public Health Expert.) Follow him on Twitter

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