Ebola Virus: A real threat

Ebola Virus: A real threat

Ebola virus disease as “one of the world’s most virulent diseases” and it is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the past. EVD outbreak has shown to have a very high-fat fatality rate ranging from 50-90%  with the reported occurrence primarily seen near the tropical rainforest of the remote village in Central & West Africa.


Group : Group V(-)ssRNA

Order : Mononegavirate

Family : Filoviridae

Genus : Ebolavirus

Species : Zaire ebolavirus

Ebola virus (EBOV formerly designed Zaire ebolavirus)  is one of five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Ebola virus diseases  (EVD) first appeared in 1976. In 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan & the other in Yambukku, Democratic Republic Congo. There are five species that have been identified – Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston & Tai Forest. The five three Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, & Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large in Africa. the virus causing the 2014 West African outbreaks belongs to the Zaire species VHF may be caused by five distinct families of RNA virus. The families Arenaviridae, Filoviridae,  Bunyaviridae, Flaviviridae & Rhabdoviridae, ranging from non-severe illnesses like Lassa fever, Rift valley fever. yellow & Dengue fever to more severe life fever threatening ones like Ebola virus diseases, Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Severe forms are often characterized b extreme systematic manifestations such as widespread vascular damage resulting in extensive hemorrhagic and multiple organ failure. The natural reservoir fruits bats & it is primarily transmitted between human & from animals to humans through body fluids.

The Ebola genome is a single-stranded RNA approximately 19000 nucleotides long. It encodes seven structural protein: nucleoprotein (NP), polymerase cofactor (VP35). (VP40), GP, transcription activator (VP30), (VP24) & RNA-dependent, RNA polymerase.


There’s no cure for Ebola, though.  There’s no cure for Ebola, though researchers are working on it. Treatment includes an experimental serum that destroys infected cells. Symptoms of Ebola and complications are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:

  1. Providing intravenous fluids (IV) and balancing electrolytes (body salts).
  2. Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure

Treating other infections if they occur. To date, there is no form of treatment, cure, or vaccine commercially available for Ebolavirus infection. Carette et al. 2011 proposed a means for the development of potential anti-filovirus pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the NPC1 cholesterol transporter. This has been demonstrated to inhibit EBOV infection in mice, but would block the cholesterol transport pathway; therefore, this form of treatment has not yet been found to be a cure. Patients with Ebola virus disease should receive care in designated treatment centers and by clinicians trained to care for such patients. Treating patients with Ebola requires a multidisciplinary approach. So, here is some medicine which helps to control pain:

  1. Antipyretic agents (eg, acetaminophen, paracetamol) to decrease fever associated with Ebola virus disease. A dose reduction of these agents may be needed for patients with progressive hepatic dysfunction. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents are generally avoided to help minimize the risk of renal failure, which can contribute to fatal disease.
  2. Analgesic agents to manage pain (eg, abdominal, joint, muscle).
  3. Antiemetic medications to control nausea and vomiting.

Anti-motility agents (eg, loperamide) to control diarrhea, and decrease fluid and electrolyte losses.


 The virus enters the body via cuts or the through exposed mucous membranes like the eyes. Symptoms usually occur 2-21 days later. The infectious period occurs with the symptoms, which are fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, rash, kidney & liver problems. The final stages involve external bleeding such as from the gums & in the stools. The virus can also remain in semen for 7 weeks after recovery from infection, it can spread via breast milk & through contact with an infected decreased individual.

Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body.

As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding. The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected.

Virus transmission

It is not entirely known how Ebola spreads in humans, but contact with body fluids of infected humans or animals is primarily responsible for the virus outbreak. Fruit bats are the natural reservoirs of the virus.

Ebola virus transmission from fruit bats to humans. The virus is transmitted by contact with contaminated body fluids.


Avoid Ebola Virus

There’s no vaccine to prevent or avoid Ebola virus. To avoid the Ebola virus we have to take care of prevention. The things are:

  1. Avoid direct contact with blood, saliva, vomit, urine and other bodily fluids of people with EVD or unknown illness.
  2. Avoid close contact with wild animals and avoid handling wild meat.
  3. Health care workers can prevent infection by wearing masks, gloves, and goggles whenever they come into contact with people who may have Ebola.


Pharmacists and microbiologist can play a large role in the management of the Ebola virus by educating and reassuring the public, particularly those traveling to endemic areas. As healthcare professionals, pharmacists are suitably placed to advise the general public on what measures can be taken to minimize the risk of infection, what symptoms to watch out for, and how to seek medical advice if contact is made with the Ebola virus.

Author: Terisa

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