Ebola, Not Just Social Media Hype

Ebola’s recent popularity and attention was brought on by the disease becoming more rapidly infectious in western Africa and contaminating Americans returning to the United States. The virus’ effects on the body and its course of infection are intriguing aspects of its┬ánature. As well as the development and origins of the treatment produced by the CDC after patients had been diagnosed. Lastly, research conducted on the virus has opened new pathways to preventing another Ebola epidemic before it reaches the shores of foreign countries again.

Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of an Ebola virus virion.
Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of an Ebola virus virion.

Ebola viewed from an electron microscope appears as long filaments, possible branched or intertwined. Despite quarantine and treatments, Ebola has not grown anymore fatal, but continues to evolve. As the epidemic grew, the virus split into at least 4 “genetic lineages.” An evolutionary biologist Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh pointed out that “Ebola is actually evolving at the expected rate for viruses of its type… This rate is over 50 percent higher than the mutation rate seen since the last outbreak in 1976.” All patient survival rates ranged between 16 and 19 percent from samples that were examined in studies, regardless of their viral lineage.

Dr. Gaya Amerasinghe from Washington University School of Medicine says “We’ve known for a long time that infection with Ebola obstructs an important immune compound called interferon… Now we know how Ebola does this, and that can guide the development of new treatments.” The protein responsible in the Ebola virus is VP24, which prevents the transcription factor of STAT1 that carries interferon’s antiviral communication from the nucleus.

Patients usually endure fever, headaches, aching muscles, and appetite loss, and in a few days can develop “disseminated intravascular coagulation”, indicated by blood clotting and internal hemorrhaging. These clots are primarily focused in the liver, spleen, brain, and multiple other internal organs that make capillaries bleed into surrounding tissue. As well, vomiting, nausea, and bloody and mucus included diarrhea, sore throat, and conjunctivitis ensue, any survivors may experience “post-Ebola syndrome” with severe symptoms involved as well.


Filamentous Ebola virus particles (colored blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (colored yellow). 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). Ebola HF is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. When infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. The first Ebola virus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.
Filamentous Ebola virus particles (colored blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (colored yellow).

Lastly, though there is no specific cure for Ebola, transfusions of whole blood and plasma from recovered patients can prove beneficial, drugs developed and tested on Ebola-infected monkeys, and a vaccine known as VSV-EBOV are all promising courses of treatment for the future. In conclusion, Ebola may have not had a grasp on those of foreign countries outside of Africa, the devastation of those infected lingers to this day.

Between developing cures and quarantine, when could the next Ebola surge hit?

Secondly, where could it originate from?

Lastly, could it be in any way more complex than it is now?

2 thoughts on “Ebola, Not Just Social Media Hype

  1. Ebola death rates could potentially have a huge increase in the next couple of months. The first cause were over six months ago but all the commotion has died down. “Infection control efforts are already underway,” said Dr. Richard Wenzel of Virginia Commonwealth University. Recently, scientists have tried even harder to make the virus die but haven’t came much farther. My question was, Is Ebola Dead Now? Apparently its not. According to George Quaker, the virus hasn’t been as deadly as before but it is slowly spreading to more and more.



  2. I think this is very informative. Also knowing the drastic effects and death striking disease, is most recently found spread throughout West Africa. They are facing not only the largest outbreak of Ebola, but the longest as well. As the Ebola spreads throughout Africa it will only get worse due to the fact that several people and/or children are malnourished. This really proves your point on how much Ebola is evolving, even just in one location. http://www.actionagainsthunger.org/blog/ebola-food-factor?gclid=CNfhg9mB7ssCFQ8yaQodYHIJiA

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