Ebola virus is a filovirus that can cause fatal hemorrhagic fever (HF) and five distinct species exist that vary in terms of geographical distribution and virulence. Once the more virulent forms enter the human population, transmission occurs primarily through direct contact with infected body fluids and may result in significant outbreaks. The devastating has been the recent West African outbreak.
Clinically, signs and symptoms are similar to those of the other VHFs . The incubation period is 2–21 days, followed by fever, headache, myalgia, diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration; thereafter, there may be recovery or deterioration with collapse, neurological manifestations and bleeding, that can lead to a fatal outcome.
Elevated hepatic transaminases is common and severe hepatitis is more common in fatal cases and frequently there is associated fluid depletion. Real time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) techniques on blood specimens are the gold standard for diagnosis .
Management is discussed and is essentially supportive with strict attention to infection control and prevention. None of the pharmacological interventions have shown conclusive benefit and future management of epidemics should centre around prevention and containment, specifically isolation, hygiene, and vaccination.