EBOLA INFECTION REPORTED
By Sean Henahan, Access Excellence
The Center's for Disease Control and Prevention
has confirmed a diagnosis of Ebola virus infection in a Swiss
researcher who had been working in central Africa.
A Swiss primate researcher working in Ivory Coast contracted
a high fever and other symptoms suggestive of Ebola infection.
The scientist was studying chimpanzees and became ill after
dissecting one of the animals last November.
The researcher was treated in Switzerland and managed to
survive the infection. Ebola infection is thought to have a 90%
mortality rate. The CDC confirmed the initial diagnosis of Ebola
infection made by France's most prestigious medical research
center, the Pasteur Institute.
The last reported case of Ebola infection occurred in a remote
area of central Africa nearly 20 years ago.
Ebola virus is in the family 'Filoviridae', of the genus,
'Filovirus'. There are four known members in the family, Marburg
virus and three Ebola viruses: Zaire, Sudan and Reston. All but
Reston have been known to infect humans. The Ebola virus has a
tropism for liver cells and macrophages. Massive destruction of
the liver is a hallmark feature of Ebola virus infection. The
gruesome symptoms of the disease are described in Richard
Preston's bestseller, The Hot Zone.
Past cases of Ebola virus infection, all in central
Africa, were associated with unhygienic hospital conditions.
Previous Ebola virus outbreaks have been short-lived, owing to
the virus's limited capacity for transmission. The virus seems
to disappear after an epidemic peaks.
Little is known about how certain few individuals survive
Ebola infection. A patient infected during an outbreak of Marburg
virus infection survived after testing positive for the virus for
more than a month. The limited data that is available suggests
that Ebola and Marburg do not persist in the blood and appears to
be self-limiting in the surviving patients.
Scientists also have no idea where Ebola lives in nature.
Previous expeditions to search for the Marburg and Ebola viruses
have turned up nothing. A team of researchers is reported to be
en route to Ivory Coast to resume the search.
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Transmitted: 95-04-09 23:37:01 EDT
Related information in Access Excellence
Interview with Dr. Frederick Murphy, Ebola Virus Expert
Current Science Seminar on Emerging Diseases
Related information at other Web sites
Ebola Recommended Reading List, Univ of Wisconsin
An Essay on Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses, University of Capetown, South Africa