Ebola Virus: Basic knowledge for health professionals

Introduction: The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa is the largest and most serious virus outbreak in history since the epidemic went beyond the borders of Africa, with the risk of transmission in almost all countries of the world. Unlike previous outbreaks of this virus, the current has not reduced and has led to social unrest and hundreds of infected cases and deaths. Aim: To analyze the basic facts regarding the epidemiology, symptoms, diagnosis and methods of prevention of spread of the Ebola virus, in order to provide a comprehensive summary for health professionals. Method: A literature review in English in the databases of PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar, using the key words: "Ebola virus", "epidemic", "Africa", "transmission", "health professionals", for the years of 2000–2015. A secondary search was conducted by investigating the reference lists of the gathered literature. Results: The virus can be transmitted by infected animals, but the main route of transmission is from person to person through close contact. The symptoms and signs of virus are similar to those of the common flu characterized by high fever. The diagnosis of the infection is extremely difficult and unfeasible to be diagnosed without laboratory settings since the symptoms of the virus are identical to other infections. To date, there is neither preventive vaccine approved by the competent bodies, nor documented treatments other than some candidate vaccines and antiviral drugs that have been developed at an early stage. Conclusions: There is a need for a multidisciplinary approach in order to establish policies based on interdisciplinary elements, protocols and practical procedures that will contribute both to the prevention of transmission of infection and also to reduce the spread of the virus. Mostly, however, requires continuing education of health professionals that are directly involved such as workers in emergency departments of health centers, which will be continuously enriched by the newest data. Finally requires transnational and transcontinental cooperation and equation as far as possible the level of health services in developing and developed countries.

Category: Volume 54, N 4
Hits: 33 Hits
Created Date: 15-12-2015
Authors: Konstantinos Giannakou , Euripidis Kneknas