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  • It’s time that we talk about Ebola.

  • It’s been on the news a lot.

  • And for a good reason, it’s one of the deadliest diseases humanity faces

  • the second deadliest technically.

  • It’s making a stand in West Africa.

  • Plus for the first time, two US citizens with the disease have been flown home for treatment

  • but don’t bar the doors and windows and get yourself world up

  • into some kinda 2006 Bird Flu hysteria

  • because weve met Ebola before and were learning more about it than ever.

  • It used to be known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

  • more recently Ebola Virus disease.

  • But what the media have lately been referring to simply and sometimes hysterically as Ebola

  • is really one of at least five known species of the Ebola virus.

  • What theyre referring to is the most dangerous species known as the Zaire ebolavirus or Zebov

  • named after the Central African country where it was first discovered in 1976

  • along the banks of the Ebola river.

  • It’s in the news because it has infected more people this year

  • than it has any other year since that first outbreak.

  • So far in 2014, it infected 1, 323 people

  • 729 have died and the virus has moved into some of West Africa’s major population centers

  • including countries like Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and possibly the Nigerian Capital of Lagos.

  • So it’s newsworthy for sure and for plenty of reasons.

  • According to the World Health Organization,

  • Zebov has an average fatality rate of 83%

  • but in some outbreaks, it has killed more than 90% of the people infected.

  • Ebola is the type hemorrhagic fever which means one of its most prominent symptoms is heavy bleeding either internally or externally

  • but blood loss isn’t what kills its hosts.

  • After causing flu-like symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea,

  • Zebov targets the entire circulatory system causing blood vessels to fail blood pressure to drop

  • and eventually all of the major organs to shut down.

  • Let’s check our heads for a minute.

  • For one thing, Ebola is definitely contagious but it’s not as easily transmitted as like with the flu.

  • It’s not an airborne disease.

  • It’s only contagious by infecting people who are exhibiting symptoms at the time

  • and even then it can only pass through close contact with bodily fluids.

  • That’s why people who are getting infected are healthcare workers working in pretty austere conditions

  • or family members of patients who treat their loved ones at home and prepare their bodies for burial.

  • By being on the same airplane or in the same hospital ward as an Ebola patient

  • doesn’t mean youve automatically been exposed to the virus.

  • And in another glimmer of hope, it turns out that some people have developed a natural immunity to Ebola.

  • A study in 2010 found out that more than 15% of people in the West African Country of Gabon carry antibodies for this Zebov virus even though there is no record of an Ebola outbreak there.

  • Researchers think that those people who were exposed to the virus over decades probably through fruit that had been contaminated by bats

  • which are the original carriers of the disease.

  • But instead of getting sick, these people just developed natural defenses.

  • Were not sure why but as you might imagine,

  • there’s a lot of scientific interest in the people have gone right now

  • and of course, there’s no vaccine for Ebola but many prototypes are being developed.

  • You may remember the news we shared last year about a breakthrough in this effort.

  • Biologists in Boston found that cells treated with the kind of compound called Indoline Alkaloids block the ability of Ebola virus to replicate itself.

  • These alkaloids are the same class of chemicals that give many plants their medicinal properties.

  • Several scientists haven’t figured out why they work or how to turn them into an effective Ebola treatment.

  • But even beyond the short term risks of the current outbreak,

  • it’s worth looking at the bigger picture.

  • The figures coming out of West Africa while scary and tragic pale in comparison to other public health crisis in the region.

  • Last week, I mentioned that the incidence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa is still over 12% in some countries

  • and more than 1.2 million people die from AIDS there every year.

  • Meanwhile, over 600,000 deaths occur every year due to Malaria.

  • The more attention that all of these public health crises get the better.

  • So maybe the best outcome of this current scare might not be the better treatment of Ebola

  • but also more money, science and brain power are being devoted to conquering even bigger threats in West Africa and other parts of the world.

  • Thanks for watching SciShow news.

  • If you want to keep getting news science straight with us,

It’s time that we talk about Ebola.

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What You Need to Know About Ebola

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    Go Tutor   posted on 2014/09/21
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