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Ebola virus disease

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Medical waste from Ebola patients is burnt

The Ebola virus disease is a dangerous virus disease that can kill humans and other primates such as gorillas. The virus is native to Africa. Fruit bats harbor the virus. It is spread to other animals. Humans may eat these animals (or the bats) and this is how they contract the disease. Humans may also contract the disease from contact with an infected human.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola usually begin suddenly with a flu-like stage. The victim may be overcome with fatigue, fever, headaches, joint, muscle and abdominal pain. Vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite are also common.

Less common symptoms include: sore throat, chest pain, hiccups, shortness of breath and trouble swallowing. The average time between contracting the infection and the start of symptoms is 8 to 10 days, but it can vary between 2 and 21 days.

The disease progresses to a bleeding stage, both internal and external. Blood may ooze from bodily openings such as the vagina and the nose. The victim bleeds in the gastrointestinal tract. If the infected person does not recover, death due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome occurs within 7 to 16 days (usually between days 8 and 9) after first symptoms. Males who recover can excrete the virus in their semen.