You have a temperature and no appetite. Your head is aching and you’re throat is sore.
It may appear as though a common cold is lurking, but unbeknownst to you the vicious Ebola virus has started to attack your immune system.
The virus destroys the same cells as those targeted by HIV, though the Ebola infection is more aggressive, wiping out the building blocks of the body’s immune system.
It has an incubation period – that is the time from infection to when the first symptoms present themselves – of between two and 21 days, increasing the risk of the highly-infectious illness spreading.
As soon as a victim starts to suffer the sudden onset of the disease, the fever, crippling headache and muscle pain, they are already contagious.
The virus is transmitted through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.
Once a human is infected, the disease can spread quickly within a community, with health workers and family members of victims at particular risk.
The current outbreak rampaging through West Africa, began in a small village in Guinea and since February it has claimed 672 lives, leaving another 1,200 people infected. It has spread into neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia.
on Friday, U.S. citizen Patrick Sawyer died in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, having travelled there by plane after attending his sister’s funeral, after she too died of the disease. This is now the most prolific Ebola outbreak since the disease was first discovered in 1976.
The fact the virus mimics the symptoms of a common cold in its early stages, is the very aspect that makes the disease so difficult to diagnose. Within a few days, the early symptoms give way to the next stage of the virus.
Disseminated intravascular coagulation causes clots and hemorrhaging, with clots in the liver, spleen, brain and other internal organs.
The virus pierces veins and capillaries, forcing the blood vessels to bleed into the surrounding tissue. A patient will suffer aches all over the body, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. And The latest outbreak is the worst since the disease was first discovered in 1976