This horrific disease is caused by a virus which strangles the victim’s blood vessels, causing random and massive haemorrhages from the anus, sexual organs, mouth, nose, ears, eyes and even the skin. There is no medication effective against it and the death rate is extremely high (in some epidemics, as high as 90%). It is a highly contagious disease, being transmitted by touching the skin or coming into contact with blood or body fluids containing the virus.
A spokesperson from Medecins Sans Frontieres declared that the specialists are “prepared to confront an emergency situation” around the epicentre of the outbreak, Dekese, in Western Kasai, 600 kilometres from the capital, Kinshasa.
The first symptoms are a severe headache and acute pains in the joints and in the chest, followed by fever and lethargy, symptoms which make an early diagnoses in many cases of flu or malaria. It is extremely important to isolate the patients immediately because the people they come into contact with become infected. The incubation period for the disease is from around 10 days to three weeks.
The first documented outbreak of Ebola was in 1976, in which 270 people died in an area of north-eastern Zaire, as the DR Congo was then known, near the river Ebola, which gave its name to the disease.
Scientists have yet to discover why the virus lies dormant for long periods and then suddenly reappears. It is thought that it is carried by certain animals and some believe the source to be small rodents or bats.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru