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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Ebola Virus

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Ebola Virus [posted 7/23/98]
Question: Right now what is being done to help cure or decrease the chance of Ebola? Is there a medication? If there is what is it?

Answer: First, one must know the infectious vector responsible for Ebola. A vaccine is being considered, but the frequency of the disease precludes this currently. Usually a vaccine is cost effective only when the numbers rise, or when the endemic areas can be clearly identified. Isolation is the best current treatment - and education to recognize the symptoms prior to larger numbers being exposed. Due to the fact the Ebola currently is only spread by blood, etc., the infectious risk is low as long as isolation procedures are utilized. There is currently no antibiotic treatment available and likely there will not be.

Ebola Virus
Question: Could I have some general inormaion about the Ebola virus? Also, information, such as symptoms, how it is contracted, treatment, survival rate would also be appreciated.

Answer: Ebola virus was initially found in central Africa. To date, it is not clear what the source of the initial (or subsequent) infections stem. Several of the initial contacts center on a cave in Africa and it is not clear if the spread is through insect vectors, animal vectors, aerosol, etc. The subsequent spread was through blood and blood products. It does not seem to spread easily through respiratory or simple contact. Consequently, simple use of gloves and gowns prevent spread of this deadly virus. There are several good books available on the spread of this virus and the CDCs effort to find the source. These books are all available at most libraries.
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