Brief General History of Ebola

In 1976, Ebola (named after the Ebola River in Zaire) first emerged in Sudan and Zaire. The first outbreak of Ebola (Ebola-Sudan) infected over 284 people, with a mortality rate of 53%. A few months later, the second Ebola virus emerged from Yambuku, Zaire, Ebola-Zaire (EBOZ). EBOZ, with the highest mortality rate of any of the Ebola viruses (88%), infected 318 people.

Despite the tremendous effort of experienced and dedicated researchers, Ebola's natural reservoir was never identified. The third strain of Ebola, Ebola Reston (EBOR), was first identified in 1989 when infected monkeys were imported into Reston, Virginia, from Mindanao in the Philippines. Fortunately, the few people who were infected with EBOR (seroconverted) never developed Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF). The last known strain of Ebola, Ebola Cote d'Ivoire (EBO-CI) was discovered in 1994 when a female ethologist performing a necropsy on a dead chimpanzee from the Tai Forest, Cote d'Ivoire, accidentally infected herself during the necropsy.

Genus Ebolavirus is 1 of 3 members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus), along with genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus Ebolavirus comprises 5 distinct species:
• Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
• Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)
• Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
• Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
• Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).
BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been associated with large EVD outbreaks in Africa, whereas RESTV and TAFV have not. The RESTV species, found in Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans from this species has been reported to date.
Key facts
• Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
• EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
• EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
• Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
• Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals. (Source: World Health Organization)

The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) has issued an Ebola advisory warning citizens of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). As of August 1, 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone) stands at 1,603 including 887 deaths.
In addition to the advisory, the government’s inter-agency task force comprised of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) agreed to temporarily lock deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in African countries at risk of the dreaded virus.
DOH assures that the Philippines remains to be Ebola-free. However, DOH strictly urged any Filipino returning to the country who is manifesting fever, headache, intense weakness, joint and muscle pains and sore throat to seek clearance with local health authorities from the country of employment before being allowed to embark in order to prevent the entry of ebola virus in the country.

Below is a copy of the DOH Advisory on Ebola Virus Disease (in Tagalog).

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