The Epidemiological Determinants and Risk Factors of Ebola Virus

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Ebola can be identified as a sporadic, transmittable and incurable disease that universally affects individuals and nonhuman apes. The infection is triggered by the Ebola virus and it is passed through exposure with infected body fluids. A person who is infected with the disease begins to experience fever, body pains, diarrhea, and intense internal and external bleeding. The virus was initially revealed in Ebola River in Congo in 1976 and since then epidemics have continued to occur in different parts of Africa and several people have been infected with the disease (Hagel et al., 2017). The origin of the virus is still a mystery for scientists even though the virus is believed to be transmitted by animals with certain animals such as bats being thought to be the cause of the virus which later is transmitted to humans. Ebola virus epidemic has occurred in countries such as Uganda, Ivory Coast, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The paper seeks to explore about Ebola virus outbreak, its cause, transmission, treatments and its impact in the community.

Outbreak of Ebola Virus

The major cases of Ebola virus epidemic have been witnessed in different countries at different times and several deaths have been reported to have occurred. In Sudan, the outbreak is said to have happened in June 1976 and lasted up to November the same year in small towns such as Zara, Maridi, Tumbura, and Juba. About 284 people were infected with the virus and amongst those, 151 lost their lives as a result of the virus. In August 1976, the outbreak spread to Zaire which is the current Democratic of Congo and 318 people were reported to have been infected and 280 people succumbed to the virus. In 1979 August, the outbreak stretched again to Sudan and 34 more cases were reported and about 22 individuals lost their lives. In Gabon, the outbreak occurred in 1994 and lasted up to February 1995 with a total of 52 people being infested by the virus and 31 of them perishing. In May 1995, the virus reoccurred in Zaire and killed about 254 individuals with the total number of those affected being 315 people. In Gabon, the outbreak continued to spread in January 1996 and lasted until April the same year and swept 21 people out of the 37 who were infected. Again the same year in July, other parts of Gabon were affected by the virus such as Booue area and it lasted up to March 1997 whereby 60 more people fell victims of the virus and 45 out of the total passed on.

In Uganda, the outbreak transpired in October 2000 until January 2001 and 425 major cases were reported with over 220 deaths being witnessed (Sabeti & Salahi, 2018). In 2001 to 2002, the outbreak was reported in both Gabon and the Republic of Congo and the total number of those infected in both countries was 135 and 107 people succumbed to the virus. The outbreak continued to spread in Mbomo and Kelle in the Republic of Congo in December 2002 to April 2003 and 128 people lost their lives out of the 143 who were affected. The outbreak occurred again in November to December 2003 in the Republic of Congo and 35 more people got ill while 27 of them died. The outbreak reoccurred again in Sudan from April to June 2004 and about 7 people died out of the 17 who were infected. Ebola spread again to DRC in August to November 2007 and killed 187 humans out of the 264 who were infected. Again in Uganda, it occurred in December 2007 up to January 2008 with 37 people losing their lives out of 149 who were infected. The virus appeared again in DRC in December 2008 and lasted up to February 2009 killing 14 people out of the 32 infected. In Uganda, it happened again from June to August 2012 and 17 deaths were reported out of the 24. In June to November 2012, it occurred in DRC and killed 36 people out of 77 people. In 2013 up to 2016, the outbreak was widespread in republics such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and a few cases were reported in nations such as Mali, Nigeria and Italy in addition to Spain among others. From August 2014 up to date Ebola outbreak has been persistent in DRC and every month various deaths are witnessed.

Epidemiological determinants and risk factors of Ebola Virus

The risk factors associated with the spread of Ebola virus include close exposure with a sick individual in the later phases of the infection, caring for a person with an Ebola virus especially when one touches the body of a dead individual. Visiting and caring for Ebola patients in health facilities escalates dispersion threats throughout major epidemics. This happens because there is an existence of great viral loads at the time when the disease is critical and there are insufficient prevention procedures. The Ebola environmental function is also said to influence on some risk aspects of infection whereby occupation is one of them. Adulthood is also believed to upsurge the peril of the virus. The greater menace linked to adulthood is because grownups are mostly caregivers since they are prone to take care of those affected by the virus. The jeopardies of spread to family members are greater in caregivers and higher when care is home-based. Amongst the health professionals, the threat of infection is great especially caregivers and those in test centers owing to the accidents that occur. Contacts with animals are significant in learning about the origin of Ebola since most epidemics are associated with wild animals. Nonetheless, owing to deficiency of sufficient statistics on exposure with animals, it is challenging to evaluate the possibility of the syndrome as a consequence of interaction with wild animals (Hagel et al., 2017). If an individual intermingles with fluids from a diseased person who has shown signs and indications through damaged skin surfaces, the hazard of spread develops to be very high.

Transmission of Ebola Virus

Ebola is transferred from animals such as bats who are believed to be the ordinary sources of Ebola virus. According to human statistics, the virus is initiated through close exposure to excretions, blood and body fluids of diseased wild animals such as apes. The virus can also be spread through unintentional contamination of laboratory facilities if the virus being studied is present. The virus can also be transferred through human to human whereby close interaction with individuals who are suggestive of the Ebola infection happens. The transmission also takes place through direct contact with body fluids of those who are infected by the malady. Spread through close skin-skin contact is also probable although the hazard of obtaining the virus is lesser than fluid contact. Interaction with polluted surfaces can also affect viral spread. Transmission of the virus is also said to transpire through viral pathogenesis whereby the virus gets into the body through mucous tissues, openings on the skin surface and through mother to child dispersion. After entering the body, patients experience diarrhea and vomiting which fallouts to loss of body weight, hypertension, and shock.

Impacts of Ebola Virus Outbreak in the Community

The disease outbreak has various impacts on the community whereby a recurring sequence of anxiety befalls, and people develop lack of reliance in health services and humiliation which arises as an outcome of interferences in community collaborations and community rupturing (Sabeti & Salahi, 2018). A collective logic of misery is also experienced owing to noteworthy deaths of community associates. It will be realized that communities further undergo structural consequences in terms of business as well as industry, community service closure, markets in addition to schools and reduced health and support services which lead to long-term psychosocial effects. Heath systems are also extremely interrupted and overloaded by the epidemic and their volumes are considerably abridged because most of the health workers also get infected with the virus and some succumb to death. Reduction in hospital turnout and admittances is also perceived during the eruption because of lack of trust.

Protocols of Reporting Ebola Virus Outbreak and Its Prevention Strategies

When an outbreak occurs, the health organizations such as WHO deploys the health care workers at the community level to mobilize and notify the community members about the outbreak. They also train the community members on the precautions to take to prevent the virus from infecting them. They also move from house to house to detect and manage cases of those who have been infected by the virus. Finally, those who are infected already are isolated from the other members of the community and special attention, treatment and care are administered to them by the healthcare providers. At the community level, Ebola can be prevented by educating the public on how to improve behavioral modifications towards the virus whereby community members are educated on how to live in an area where the outbreak is present. Training is done by healthcare providers on how to avoid exposure to blood and body fluids of an infected individual, interaction with animals like apes and avoiding touching items of an infected individual (Hagel et al., 2017). Another strategy to prevent an outbreak of Ebola virus is through administering the Ebola vaccine to all community members to avoid the outbreak from taking place and from further spreading.


Hagel, C., Weidemann, F., Gauch, S., Edwards, S., & Tinnemann, P. (2017). Analyzing published global Ebola Virus Disease research using social network analysis. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(10), e0005747. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0005747.

Sabeti, P., & Salahi, L. (2018). Outbreak culture. The Ebola crisis and the next epidemic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

October 13, 2023




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