The Ebola Virus Investigating A Killer Essay — страница 3

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all four Ebola strains is not likely to be produced. There are many factors that could lead to an Ebola epidemic. Here is a list of conditions that could contribute to such a disastrous event. - the presence of animal or insect vectors near a human population; - exposure of the virus to an individual in a remote setting, and the individual returning to a more highly populated area; - poor hygiene and sanitation in a human population, hence increasing the chances of contact with bodily fluid (e.g. excretion from Ebola patients get into sewage system and human contact is common); - decreased immunity level in population; - insufficient public health infrastructure (e.g. hospital facilities); - lack of public education regarding the virus; - poor communication infrastructure

(leading to delayed medical response and public notification). The analysis of these conditions has helped many understand when, why and how Ebola disasters strike. Precautions can therefore be taken by following the following preventive measures. More recent outbreaks have taken fewer lives because health officials have been introduced to these recommended and proper control techniques. - Improving sanitation, hygiene, and health care and education amongst the population. - Quarantining of Ebola patients (this is permitted but not required). - Supervising international travel. - Improving communications for epidemiological education and notification, and coordination of health organizations. - Encouraging hospital personnel to use the patient isolation method called the

‘barrier technique’, which includes: 1) doctors and nurses wearing protective clothing like masks and gloves, 2) restricting the patients’ visitors, 3) sterilization of reusable material, 4) disposing and incineration of disposable material right after their first and only use, and 5) all hard surfaces being cleaned with sanitizing solution. Little is known about this deadly virus, and there has been very slow but gradual advances in the studies of Ebola. A science milestone was created in 1976 when Dr. Frederick A. Murphy, the director for the National Center for Infectious Diseases (now of the University of California), made the first electron micrograph of the virus that killed hundreds in Zaire and Sudan at that time. The image was a magnification of 160 000 times of a

most elegantly coiled organism (Fig.1.2). But looks can deceive – and even kill. The now-famous photograph made an appearance in the 1995 film Outbreak, and is currently splashed all over the website pages of many Ebola fans. But there’s a lot more to discovery and investigation than merely capturing the virus on film. The image has only set the ball rolling for even more intensive research about the Ebola – there is still a lot more we have yet to know about it. For example, we are still unsure about its natural reservoir, where it lies dormant. Studies are currently taking place in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gabon and Zaire relating to this matter. So far, only monkeys have been identified as vectors as well as hosts of the Ebola virus. The Center of Disease Control

and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Army are all currently screening hundreds of various African animal species in search of other vectors. In the meantime, the genetic code for Ebola-Zaire has been completely sequenced, and the code for Ebola- Reston is almost completed. (These gene orders reaffirm their independence as a family.) In the April 16, 1996 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., Anthony Sanchez and his colleagues at the CDC reported their progress in genetic analysis of the Ebola virus. It seemed to them that the most important gene in the virus was the glycoprotein gene, which manufactures proteins that lie on the surface of the virus and are believed to transport the virus into the host cell. Anthony Sanchez

and his team had further analyzed the glycoprotein gene to reveal that filoviruses, besides destroying the cells they infect, might also kill their victims by overpowering the immune system. This could be one of the reasons why the Ebola virus is such a lethal pathogen. There have been comparisons between the HIV virus and the Ebola virus because of genetic and behavioral similarities, but research has proven that the Ebola virus has no association to the HIV virus in any way. Compared to other diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis, the Ebola virus poses a rather limited threat to the public. It kills its victims so quickly that it cannot spread far. But this should not always be assumed, as pathogens have a frequent tendency to mutate, sometimes resulting in even deadlier