News & Information About Ebola

Author: toris (page 1 of 13)

Post-Ebola Syndrome

Ebola has a typical case fatality rate averaging 70% which in itself presents a terrifying prospect for those infected by the virus. The 30% of cases that survive may go on to develop potentially long term symptoms resulting from the damage caused by the virus. As many as half of the survivors have reported health troubles after the initial recovery.

Loss of Vision

One of the most common complaints after surviving Ebola is the deterioration of vision. No studies have been done concluding that Ebola has an impact on vision and it is not possible to confirm without a doubt that vision damage is caused the virus but possible related causes could be from damage to the blood vessels surrounding the eyes and long term inflammation.

Headaches/Joint/Muscle Pain

The severe headaches that accompany the early Ebola symptoms may linger for up to 18 months in survivors. Survivors need to avoid the use of Aspirin after recovering which may limit the treatment options for some.  Joint and Muscle pain have also been noted by survivors.

Psychological Trauma

Survivors are often faced with the difficult task of returning to their lives after being isolated from society for an extended period of time. A significant stigma exists resulting in further isolation and exclusion by community members. Trauma counseling is suggested but regrettably not always available in remote or impoverished regions.

Future Questions

Ebola outbreaks have typically been limited in size and as such very few studies have been conducted on the long term effects of the virus. In the future there will certainly be more extensive studies done and it is foreseeable that the questions around liver and cardiovascular damage will need to be answered. It is not entirely clear how many of the after effects are caused by Ebola itself or the treatments typically used but it is certain that surviving Ebola is just the beginning of the journey for many people.

List of Hemorrhagic Fevers

Ebola is not the only virus known to cause hemorrhagic fever and it is certainly not the most common. This page serves to list many of the common viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) in a table with brief descriptions for reference. The diseases listed are those commonly found in humans and excludes those which effect animals such as rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

All forms of VHF share similar symptoms including generalized flu-like symptoms in the early stages of infection with rapid progression into the defining symptoms. The general symptoms of VHF related disease include high fever, bleeding disorders, shock and in many cases results in death. Five families of RNA viruses are considered responsible for all VHF cases with the most recent identified in 2012. The viral families are Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae (Ebola), Flaviviridae and Rhabdoviridae.

Name Description
Viral hemorrhagic fever Generic terms for typically life threatening fevers including Ebola and Marburg
Argentine hemorrhagic fever Caused by an arenavirus carried by corn mice
Bolivian hemorrhagic fever Caused by the Machupo virus with mortality rates between 5 and 30%
Brazilian hemorrhagic fever The Sabiá virus is responsible for the fever
Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever Spread by a Tick-borne Virus
Kyasanur forest disease Caused by Tick-borne virus from the same family as yellow fever
Lassa fever Caused by the Lassa Virus
Marburg virus disease The Marburg virus is a close relative of Ebola
Omsk hemorrhagic fever Found in Siberia caused by a Flavivirus
Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever Caused by the Guanarito virus

As you can see there are several known hemorrhagic fevers and although Ebola gets highlighted every few years during an outbreak it is certainly not the only virus to consider when a fever presents itself in a patient. Many of the diseases belonging to this category are endemic to certain areas around the world and all share the symptoms noted in late stage Ebola infections.

PPE Kit List & DIY Alternatives

Personal Protection Equipment is key to preventing the spread of Ebola as healthcare workers and others rely on it to prevent being infected. If in an emergency situation you need to be in contact with an Ebola patient you may need to have an understanding of the equipment used as well as more readily available substitutes.

The below image shows a standard PPE suit but an Ebola suit requires the face, eyes, mouth and feet to be covered in addition to the basic covering depicted in the image. Many of the components of an Ebola PPE suit can be replaced with household equipment in an extreme emergency if required.

Standard PPE Suit

By Protectepi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The principal of Ebola PPE is to seal your body off from exposure as much as possible while still remaining reasonably mobile. A full PPE suit is incredibly difficult to wear for long periods of time and the longer a health worker is in PPE the higher the chance for mistakes becomes. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are very real risks while donning protective suits.

List of Equipment & Reasonable Alternatives.

Safety Goggles/Face Shield

The eyes need to be protected from possible contact with the virus at all times. A pair of safety goggles and or a face shield should provide sufficient protection in most instances. Medical safety goggles are very cheap however if needed you can replace them with hardware store goggles. A medical face shield may also be replaced with a hardware store face shield.


The coverall and apron provide protection for the body area particularly from contact with bodily fluids. Disposable aprons and coveralls are often used by health care workers. A common replacement can be made with refuse bags. It is critical to maximize the the coverage and tape up any holes with duct tape or another strong adhesive tape.

Gloves/Feet Coverings

Health care workers wear two pairs of gloves and seal the coverall to the gloves with medical tape or duct tape. A pair of kitchen gloves could be used a reasonable alternative.

N95 Mask/Respirator

There is no confirmation that Ebola is airborne and as such it is generally sufficient to wear at least an N95 mask to protect against aerosol particles. The primary purpose of the mask is to protect the mouth from contact with the virus. N95 equivalent masks may be available at your local hardware store. In extreme situations a folded scarf or piece of cloth may provide limited protection.


HCW’s are sprayed down by another worker before and during the suit removal process. A bleach solution can be mixed at home to provide a suitable cleaning mixture. A mixture containing 3 parts of water to 1 part of beach is known to kill the Ebola virus within minutes.

Golden Rules

  • Do not touch your face
  • Do not wear a PPE suit for extended periods of time
  • Be careful when removing any equipment to avoid contact with the equipment
  • Dispose of any materials that may have had contact with the virus
  • If for any reason you must clean the equipment do so with a bleach mixture of at least 1:3.
  • Do not leave any part of your body exposed if possible.
  • Beware of bodily fluids at all times.
  • Leave the handling of Ebola and its victims to trained experts where possible.

Possibly Useful Equipment

You may have some helpful equipment nearby without realizing it.

  • UV Lights can kill viruses, you may have a “black light” in the house or if you work in a shop the fake money detector light is usually UV.
  • Garden pesticide sprayers can be used to spray a bleach or chlorine mixture. Remember to wash it well before and after use.
  • Safety goggles and face shields are often bundled with power tools.

Always remember that by coming into contact with an Ebola patient you are placing yourself at risk of infection. Health workers are often infected while adhering to strict standards and as such contact is not recommended.

Mali and New York Confirm First Cases

On seemingly opposite ends of the globe two new cases of Ebola have been confirmed by respective health authorities. The Ministry of Health in Mali has confirmed the infection of a 2 year old who traveled from Guinea while New York has confirmed that a Doctor who recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for the virus.

Mali is the sixth country in West Africa to be affected by the largest recorded outbreak. It is understood that the 2 year old girl was placed in isolation along with all direct contacts on the the 23rd of October 2014. The Ministry of Health released a statement confirming the importation after a suspected case was identified at Fousseyni Daou Kayes Hospital. It is strongly suspected that at least one of the girls parents has died from Ebola recently.

In the USA a suspected case appeared at Bellevue Hospital when Dr Craig Spencer was admitted with symptoms. Significant concern has been raised about the time line for this infection after it emerged that Dr Craig Spencer may have been symptomatic while using the subway and taxi cabs. Research suggests that Ebola can survive without a host for several days. CDC officials have been dispatched to assist with the case and contact tracing has begun.

The World Health Organization and the United Nations raised concerns about the risk of case importation for Mali and Côte d’ Voire in recent weeks after reports began to emerge that the outbreak was continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The confirmation of a case in Mali reaffirms the statements from officials and experts in recent weeks. The outbreak must be contained in the West Africa “Hot Zone”.

1995 Outbreak Summary

315 cases with 254 deaths occurred in 1995 when Ebola broke out in the Kitwit area of the Democratic Republic of Congo which was known as Zaire at the time.  The outbreak was one of the largest since the first documented outbreak in 1976 when Zaire witnessed 318 cases of the virus.

The source of infection was traced to a single index patient who fell ill on the 6th of January 1995 and died in a local hospital on the 13th of the same month. This resulted in direct infections of his family members and a secondary wave of at least 10 infections in his extended family. It is assumed that the index patient contracted the infection from a natural reservoir since no prior contact with an Ebola carrier was found.

Several deaths occurred in the initial village and nearby villages where the cause of death was noted as dysentery. It is thought that several of these cases were in fact the result of the virus but were not recognized as such until much later in May when it was confirmed. It is very likely that at least a portion of these cases formed part of the initial transmission chain for the outbreak.

May 1995 saw the involvement of international partners and health organizations in an effort to contain the outbreak. The last case was documented in June 1995 however at least one asymptomatic case appears to have occurred after the last reported case. Officials attributed the successful containment to patient isolation, contact tracing and education. The outbreak occurred 21 years after the first documented outbreak raising significant awareness about the disease and the potential for the virus to have a widespread impact beyond the original scope of understanding. The similarity in case counts and mortality rates between the two outbreaks confirmed that the virus remained a serious threat.

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