African fruit bats are most likely implicated in the propagation of the Ebola virus and may potentially be the source of infection (reservoir host). Scientists are still looking for clear proof of the bat's role in Ebola transmission. However they believe that this animal is probably involved.
Ebola can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, body fluids, or organs. It can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or after birth. No known cure exists for Ebola; however, patients' symptoms can be treated with rest, nutrition, and supportive care such as hydration and blood pressure monitoring. In some cases, medications may be given to reduce fever or anxiety/depression symptoms.
Patients usually start showing signs of illness between 2-21 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms include sudden fever, sore throat, muscle pain, confusion, and weakness. Some people may have no symptoms at all. If you are caring for someone who has been exposed to Ebola, follow recommended safety measures to protect yourself.
Novel viruses often resemble viruses already found in other animals. Because bats are used as a reservoir host for many important viruses, it is not surprising that they would be associated with many different virus species.
The numerous Ebola virus species infect both human and non-human primates on a sporadic basis, producing Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. According to recent data, the virus may have a natural reservoir in distinct bat populations.
Scientists have no idea where the Ebola virus originated. They believe EVD is animal-borne, with bats or nonhuman primates being the most plausible source based on comparable viruses. Infected animals can spread the virus to other species such as apes, monkeys, duikers, and humans. A large outbreak of EVD in Zaire in 1976 provides evidence that these other species can be infected with the virus as well.
However, it is possible that the virus emerged much later than it appears to have done. There are many different theories about how it may have originated. One theory is that it was created in a laboratory accident when scientists tried to make smallpox vaccine but instead created something similar if not identical to Ebola virus.
Another theory is that there is actually more than one origin of the virus and it has been spreading between animals and humans for quite some time. Some researchers think that EVD may even be an evolutionary adaptation used by its host to kill each other more easily. This would explain why we see only one strain of the virus at any given time—it's the only one that survives.
Finally, it is also possible that the virus existed before today's species came onto the scene. In this case, it would have evolved naturally inside another organism. Scientists speculate that ancient viruses like this one might still be circulating within certain animal populations today without anyone knowing it.
Population increase, encroachment into wooded regions, and direct contact with animals (such as bushmeat consumption) may have aided in the spread of the Ebola virus. Since its discovery in 1976, the majority of Ebola Virus Disease cases and outbreaks have occurred in Africa.
Ebola spreads through contact with body fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, sweat, breast milk, or feces from an infected person. An infected animal's bodily fluid can also transmit the virus.
People become infected when they touch something that contains the virus - for example, when a patient does not properly dispose of their blood - and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. They then pass on the infection to their own bodies.
In addition, the virus is known to live in many kinds of animals, so it cannot be contained by just one host species. It can survive in the environments where it has been found, including heat, dirt, and water for several days, indicating that it is not likely to disappear anytime soon.
Currently there is no cure for Ebola, but some patients do recover with treatment. The mortality rate is around 90%. Because of this high rate of death, Ebola is often called "the deadliest virus".
Any random mutation that made life easier for bats would have been selected and spread as Ebola reproduced and spread from bat to bat. This process of adaptation would have continued until the virus was reasonably well suited to its host. That means there must be something about the way Ebola works that makes it easy for it to spread between animals.
The fact is that we don't know all the ways in which Ebola spreads, but what we do know indicates that direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids is not a major method. Direct contact with infected tissues may be possible, but the virus is also likely to spread through the feces of an animal who has died of Ebola. Bats are known to eat contaminated fruit that has fallen into their colonies; they then use their tongues to filter out the seeds before swallowing them. It has been suggested that they might share other food items with members of their colony, but this has not been confirmed. It is possible that without tasting their food, bats collect viruses from the air that are found in droppings near their roosts and pass them off as their own.
Ebola isn't the only virus that can be passed on through food. There are several others that infect mammals, including rabies and Hendra virus. They too can be found in the feces of infected animals and so could potentially be spread by bats.
Ebolavirus comes in six varieties: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Tai Forest, Reston, and Bombali. The Zaire ebolavirus was responsible for the most recent Ebola epidemics in West Africa (2014–2016) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018–2019).
It is a large virus, about 30 nanometers in diameter, with a single-stranded RNA genome that contains three genes coding for the viral proteins VP24, VP40, and NP. It is believed that when infected by this virus, people become immune to further infections by the same species of virus.
However, there is no evidence that would indicate that someone who has been infected with one variety of Ebolavirus can be infected with another variety later in life. Although there have been reports of people who have survived ebolavirus infections, it is not known how many years ago they were infected or what kind of virus they had originally. It is possible that both viruses share some similarities in their structure that allows the person's body to respond accordingly, however, this idea has yet to be confirmed by scientific studies.
In addition to human beings, other animals have been found to be infected with ebolaviruses including monkeys, apes, and several species of bats.
Ebola virus is named after the country where it was first discovered - Zaire.