• Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
• EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
• EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The infection results from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
• Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
• Treatment is limited to supportive therapy. No specific treatment and licensed vaccine for EVD is available. New drug therapies are being evaluated.
Signs and Symptoms
EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.The incubation period is 2 to 21 days.
Outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
• According to World Health Organization (WHO) data as of July 27, 2014, the scale of the ongoing outbreak is unprecedented, with approximately 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases reported, and 729 deaths in the affected countries since March 2014.
• WHO is launching a $100 million response plan to bring the outbreak under control. Key elements of the plan is to stop transmission in the affected countries through scaling up effective, evidence-based outbreak control measures and prevent the spread of the disease to neighboring countries through strengthening epidemic preparedness and response measures.
• As of July 31, 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to avoid nonessential travel to the affected countries.
• Here in the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said that the Department of Health has put in place precautionary measures to prevent the entry and spread of EVD in the country.