March 1, 1996
Imagine going on vacation to a foreign country and when you come home you are horribly sick. Your head hurts, you have a highfever, and you start vomiting. Chances are that you may havecontracted the Ebola virus.
Ebola was first discovered in the village of Yambuku(1) nearthe Ebola River in Zaire. Since its discovery, there have beenfour outbreaks of this disease. There are three known strains, ofvariations of ebola. There is no known cure for this disease(2).Ebola has become one of the most mysterious and feared viruses onthe face of this earth.
Ebola's first documented appearance was in Zaire in 1976. No One knows where ebola comes from or what the original host is.However, scientists know that man is not ebola's natural host(3).The host was first suspected of being carried by monkeys in the African rain forests(4), but in one case the monkeys at a holding facility broke out and had to be killed.
In the pursuit of a cure and an origin, there have beenseveral teams of scientists whose top priority is to find theviruses origin(5). The teams have trekked through the rainforests of Africa to collecting different species of animals,bugs, and plant life. Bugs are also collected from the hospitals and from the surrounding huts of the villages. So far 36,000specimens have been collected. Once they have been gathered, the specimens are put into liquid nitrogen and flown back to theUnited States, where they are studied at the Centers for DiseaseControl in Atlanta Georgia and the Army Medical Research Instituteof Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick Md.,(6). Researchers have discovered the source of human infection for all level fourorganisms except ebola(7). This means that all organisns that cause deadly viruses have been contained and studied, and have had antibodies created to ward of the illnesses that are caused. Although Ebola is a mystery to humans, the virus is relatively hard to catch and it...
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