By Nina Cheng
Is Ebola really on its way to infecting the entire world? Or is it just some faulty and overrated rumor that the media just canâ€™t stop buzzing about? Either way, it seems as if this disease has the whole nation gripped in fear. Whatâ€™s real, and whatâ€™s not? What even is Ebola? Keep reading; weâ€™ll do our best to answer your questions.
What is Ebola?
The Ebola virus disease (EVD), previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe and deadly disease spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus.
Since when was Ebola even a thing and where did it come from?
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is currently the largest and most complex one since 1976, when Ebola was first discovered in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of
Congo. The natural host of Ebola is unknown, although the virus is known to live in several species of bats.
How many people have gotten Ebola so far in the United States?
So far, there have been three cases of Ebola reported and diagnosed in the United States. With treatment, Ebola currently has about a 50% survival rate.
How do people get Ebola? Will I get Ebola?
Ebola is transmitted to humans through contact with bodily fluids of infected animals. From there, the virus spreads through human-to-human direct contact involving blood, secretions, and bodily fluids. As long as you have not had direct contact with an Ebola-infected person, odds are; you donâ€™t have Ebola.
Are there any treatments for Ebola?
An experimental biopharmaceutical drug called ZMapp is currently under development for treating Ebola and has been used in both animal and human trials. Meanwhile, scientists have also discovered that the protein NPC1 is critical to Ebola infection and are looking into that as a possible target for an antiviral drug.
Is it true that ISIS is threatening to use Ebola as a weapon against the United States?
Recently, there has been news going around that ISIS is considering the option of intentionally infecting themselves with Ebola and coming over to the US with the hopes of spreading it to the general American population. However that is all just a rumor! With Ebolaâ€™s short incubation period, by the time a would-be-martyr reached the U.S., he would probably be too ill to even make it past customs.
In conclusion, yes, Ebola is an extremely dangerous and potent disease. However, it is important to note that scientists are working diligently to develop treatments and drugs against this disease. There is hope for a cure!