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I’m a public health microbiologist which means I do research on disease-causing microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
The he first thing you should know is that Ebola is a virus, not a bacteria. It is a member of the filovirus family, of which the Marburg virus is also a part of, and also causes a similar disease. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses, making them harder to treat. The only current way to treat Ebola is supportive care in a hospital to keep the patient from going into organ failure, or DIC. DIC is disseminated intravascular coagulation, which means Ebola viruses cause tiny blood clots to form throughout the body. It is usually fatal if not treated immediately.
During the last Ebola epidemic it is important to realize that all patients that were treated in American hospitals survived. The high mortality rate in Africa is due more to lack of medical supplies, remote locations of outbreaks, and failure of public awareness campaigns that are aimed at quarantining patients.
Treatment involves intravenous liquids to prevent dehydration, pain relief, blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Other supportive measures are anti-anxiety medications, oxygen supplementation, and heparin (an anticoagulant) to prevent blood from clotting in the internal organs. Patients are kept in strict quarantine and health professionals use strict measures to prevent being exposed to blood or other bodily fluids.
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