Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia arrived in the United States from West Africa on August 2, 2014.
Despite concern among some in the United States over bringing Ebola patients to the country, health officials have said there is no risk to the public. He was escorted into an Atlanta hospital, wearing a bio-hazard suit, for treatment in a special isolation unit.
The facility at Emory, set up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is one of only four in the country with the facilities to deal with such cases.
A second infected member of the group, missionary Nancy Writebol, will be brought to the United States on a later flight, as the medical aircraft is equipped to carry only one patient at a time.
Brantly is a 33-year-old father of two young children. Writebol is a 59-year-old mother of two.
CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said this week that the agency was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being treated in the United States previously. But five people in the past decade have entered the country with either Lassa Fever or Marburg Fever, hemorrhagic fevers that are similar to Ebola.
Genetic analysis of the virus indicates that it is closely related (97% identical) to variants of Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus) identified earlier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon
The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths, as of August 1, 2014. Of the 1603 clinical cases, 1009 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.
In Guinea, 485 cases, including 358 fatal cases and 340 laboratory confirmations of EVD, were reported by the Ministry of Health of Guinea and WHO as of August 1, 2014. Active surveillance continues in Conakry, Guéckédou, Boffa, Pita, Siguiri, and Kourourssa Districts.
In Sierra Leone, WHO and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 646 suspect and confirmed cases of EHF as of August 1, 2014. Of these 646, 540 cases have been laboratory confirmed and 273 were fatal. Districts reporting clinical EVD patients include Kailahun, Kenema, Kambia, Port Loko, Bo and Western Area, which includes the capital, Freetown. More recently, Tonkolili, Bambali, Moyamba, Bonthe, and Punjehun Districts have also reported confirmed cases of EVD. Reports, investigations, and testing of suspect cases continue across the country.
As of August 1, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia and WHO reported 468 clinical cases of EVD, including 129 laboratory confirmations and 255 fatal cases. Suspect and confirmed cases have been reported from Lofa, Montserado, Margibi, Bomi, Bong, Nimba, RiverCess, Grand Cape Mount, and Grand Bassa Counties. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Monrovia.
In Nigeria, WHO and the Nigerian Ministry of Health reported 1 probable fatal case and 4 suspect cases as of August 1, 2014.
CDC is in regular communication with all of the Ministries of Health (MOH), WHO, MSF, and other partners regarding the outbreak. Currently CDC has personnel in all four countries assisting the respective MOHs and the WHO-led international response to this Ebola outbreak.
Based on reports from the Ministry of Heath of Guinea, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, the Ministry of Health of Nigeria, and WHO.
The prevention of Ebola HF presents many challenges. Because it is still unknown how exactly people are infected with Ebola HF, there are few established primary prevention measures.
When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques. They should also have the capability to request diagnostic tests or prepare samples for shipping and testing elsewhere.
Barrier nursing techniques include:
- wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
- the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
- isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.
The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient. If a patient with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.
CDC, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, has developed a set of guidelines to help prevent and control the spread of Ebola HF. Entitled Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers In the African Health Care Setting, the manual describes how to:
- recognize cases of viral hemorrhagic fever (such as Ebola HF)
- prevent further transmission in health care setting by using locally available materials and minimal financial resources.