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Emma Grimaldi
1/4/15
Period E
Mrs. MacIver
Ebola: The Truth Behind the Virus
Ebola is a deadly disease to all creatures within the primate family, including
humans, yet little is known about the virus. Ebola is a virus that is contracted within
being such as monkeys or humans. It is an infection found within the Filoviridae family
and contains five variations; the Ebola virus, the Sudan virus, Tai Forest virus, and the
Reston virus (which effects nonhuman primates). 1 Once it has infected its host, Ebola
will destroy the body it has invaded. Side effects of the virus include headache, vomiting,
diarrhea, coughing, the eyes become red, the skin becomes covered in bruises, the blood
will clot which clogs the kidneys, lungs, and other parts of the body, and death.2
Essentially, Ebola liquefies the intestines leaving nothing behind but goop. Although this
virus is destructive to humans, there is little information behind Ebola. Scientists do not
know what creature is Ebolas natural host or where exactly Ebola originates from. Due
to this lack of information about Ebola, the media has inflated the fear of the Ebola
epidemic into unnecessary proportions through omitting facts and not speaking of
proper treatments once infected.
Ebola has a mysterious history that has alluded scientists for years. Ebola was first
identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. It is
1 About Ebola Virus Disease. (2014, October 03). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html
2 Preston, R. (1994). The hot zone. New York: Random House.

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frequently found in Africa, in countries such as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.3
Despite assertions made by the press, first world countries such as the United States face
little risk in experiencing an Ebola break out due to the public having access to proper
medical needs. Developing countries like Africa are at a higher risk due to poor health
conditions. Cases found in first world countries are usually from citizens who have
travelled out of the country, Africa faces the issue of having the disease be native to the
area.4 The discovery of Ebola has led to scientists questioning what the viruss natural
host is. Many believe Ebola is resides in fruit bats found in the Pteropodidae family, but
there is not enough evidence for scientists to officially state such facts.5 It is believed that
the bats eat fruit and have saliva that carry the virus. Other animals then eat the left over
fruit or the bats themselves, becoming infected. Humans become infected once they
consume an animal that has been infected with the virus.6There have been two serious
outbreaks of Ebola recorded in history. The first epidemic was contained to small villages
near tropical forests within Central Africa. The most recent outbreak was within Western
Africa and reached not only rural areas but also urban areas. In order to safely control and

3 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2013, September 1).


Retrieved November 30, 2014, from
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001339.htm
4 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
5 Ebola virus disease. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/
6 Watts, T. J. (n.d.). Ebola. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://issues.abcclio.com/Search/Display/1036459?
terms=ebola&webSiteCode=SLN_ISS&returnToPage=%2fSearch%2fDisplay
%2f1036459%3fterms
%3debola&token=CEA8158E351D83C50345F034D2B200EA&casError=False

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end the outbreak the communities help is often needed. The people must be willing to
under surveillance and isolation along with having save burials and proper safety labs to
test the patients.7
The fear behind Ebola is increased due to many civilians not understanding the virus.
Ebola is a disease that often results in death when not treated properly. Ebola is spread
through bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, and urine. It cannot be transmitted through
air, water, food, or insects such as mosquitos.8 Symptoms appear between day two and
day twenty-two, and until then humans are not contagious. The first symptoms include
head ache, muscle pain, and sore throat which is followed by vomiting, rashes, and
impaired liver and kidney function.9 Despite statements made by the media, victims of
Ebola do not turn into walking zombies. Instead, their body breaks down and the victim
becomes delirious. There are practiced ways of stopping Ebola out breaks once they have
begun. Nurses are expected to have basic hygiene, always washing their hands, and wear
gear to protect the body from infectious fluids. Also, the patients should receive clean,
sterile, needles and the dead should be provided safe burials to prevent Ebola living
within the body to spread to others.10 Sanitary supplies is necessary when dealing with
patients because the virus can contaminate any object it comes in contact with such as
7 Ebola virus disease. (n.d.).
8 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2013, September 1).
Retrieved November 30, 2014, from
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001339.htm
9 About Ebola Virus Disease. (2014, October 03). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html
10 About Ebola Virus Disease.

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bandages, clothes, bedding, and even medical equipment.11 When receiving proper
medical attention patients have an increased chance of survival versus those who do not
have access to sanitary hospitals and knowledgeable doctors. Nurses and doctors along
with relatives of the victims need to take precautions due being in close contact with the
sick.
Ebola hysteria is unnecessary within countries like America due to health measures taken
within the nation to protect the people. In Africa, the people have to worry about infected
wild animal meat, handling infected blood, and coming into contact with infected bats.12
However, in America, this is not a problem. The health codes within the United States are
strict and spreading the disease would be slightly more difficult than in developing
countries. Any cases of Ebola found in the United States were usually people who had
traveled to Africa and were returning home. On top of that, once the potential victims
returned to America all precautions were taken to prevent an epidemic from appearing
within the States. To have the virus spread there must be contact. The virus is not
airborne, meaning the victim, at some point, must have touched an infected object.13 In
America, for an infected object to be exposed to the open would be very rare and highly
unlikely to happen. The media has given the impression that everyone will be
contaminated and die, yet only four people within America have been recorded to have
had Ebola. Of those four, the three health care providers survived and no longer carry the
11 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
12 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
13 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

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virus.14 Ebola affects Africa due to the lack of proper health systems. The weak health
systems and limited budgets prevent African countries from ensuring fitting medical
assistance. Only with not having enough money, there is not enough humans capable of
care the patients need.15 This lack of resources causes the countries to fall behind in areas
where America and other powerful nations need not worry about.
The virus Ebola has been blown out of proportions within America. Dead patients are not
returning as zombies, the entire nation will not be infected, and the virus is not airborne,
so it cannot be breathed in. The media as created hysteria in a place where it is not
needed. Due to the health institutions put into the place, the chance of Ebola becoming an
epidemic within America is slim. Furthermore, due to the virus being so deadly to those
who are unprepared not much is known about the disease, hurting not only the patients
but doctors searching for cures. While Ebola is a large concern for those within Africa
where outbreaks occur frequently, countries like the United States need not worry.

References

14 Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.


15 About Ebola Virus Disease.

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About Ebola Virus Disease. (2014, October 03). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html
Ebola hemorrhagic fever: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2013, September 1).
Retrieved November 30, 2014, from
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001339.htm
Ebola virus disease. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/
Ebola/Marburg. (2014, September 8). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/ebolaMarburg/research/Pages/default.aspx
Preston, R. (1994). The hot zone. New York: Random House.
Watts, T. J. (n.d.). Ebola. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://issues.abcclio.com/Search/Display/1036459?
terms=ebola&webSiteCode=SLN_ISS&returnToPage=%2fSearch%2fDisplay
%2f1036459%3fterms
%3debola&token=CEA8158E351D83C50345F034D2B200EA&casError=Fals
e
WHO Ebola Response Team. (2014, October 16). Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections NEJM.
Retrieved October 30, 2014, from
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411100#t=articleBackground

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