Ebola disease is a devastating illness, with at least 6 random outbreaks in the past decade in Africa, killing not only people but also a large number of gorillas, which threatens the species into extinction. The mystery surrounding Ebola has grown because the disease often fails to appear for years, sometimes even decades, and then suddenly breaks out in seemingly aimless areas(“Ebola threatens Apes in Africa” http://www. terradaily. com/reports/Ebola_Threatens_Apes_In_Africa. html).
Ebola disease is caused by the Ebola virus infection and is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected persons. This can spread quite quickly and is highly fatal, and kills up to ninety percent of its victims (“Ebola Breaks Out in Uganda” http://abcnews. go. com/International/story? id=82378&page=1). The Ebola virus first broke out in Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo) and Sudan, almost simultaneously, in 1976. Mortality rates were eighty-right percent in Zaire and sixty-six percent in Sudan, with over five hundred cases(“Ebola: Clinical Features and Public Health Issues” http://www. smid. org. ph/vol25/vol25num1topic10. pdf). Ebola is one of the most gruesome and deadly viruses in its effects on its victims. It may even be the most feared disease in the planet, which excessive bleeding and liquefying flesh. It is spread from people who have close contact with the ill person (such as families, communities, hospitals), handling dead ill bodies and even through bodily fluids. Lack of sanitary condition, including clean needles, syringes, water, and ways to sanitize an area after it comes in contact with the fluids are the top ways in which the disease is spread(“TED Case Studies: Ebola, Trade and Environment” http://www1. merican. edu/ted/ebola. htm). In particular, family members and health care workers have caught it, through the reuse of hypodermic needles when treating ill patients. When a person becomes infected with Ebola, they do not feel sick immediately. In fact, they feel normal for two to twenty days (the incubation period); even though they may feel regular externally, the Ebola virus is constantly multiplying. Most patients develop severe bleeding in multiple areas (lungs, gums, etc. ). The bleeding occurs because of the small clots throughout the body.
These blood clots use up the platelets leaving the rest of the blood incapable to thicken (“Ebola Zaire” http://cydathria. com/ebola. html). This bleeding often destroys the patient in within seven to sixteen days after the incubation period (the amount of time between infections of a virus to the start of symptoms) (“Ebola: Africa’s Bloody Disease” http://www. infoplease. com/cig/dangerous-diseases-epidemics/ebola-africa-bloody-disease. html). In the past, other disease has been spread through organism in the water below the ships which carry goods from one continent to another (“TED Case Studies http://www1. merican. edu/ted/ebola. htm). For instance, yellow fever migrated with the slave trade through mosquitoes that had the virus and laid eggs on water barrels by the slave ships. This brings up the question of how there could be some unknown way of spreading the virus through trade. Researchers have insisted that monkeys grown in the wild are certainly much more likely to carry a virus like Ebola than monkeys which are grown in sanitary environments. Monkeys put in trade are not always guaranteed healthy and could affect humans with Flioviridae—a deadly virus in Ebola among humans.
Because of the wild meat trade from Africa, who knows where the Ebola virus could erupt. Africa’s bush meat trade is now run on an industrial scale, increasing the chances of spread and also takes toll on wild life (“TED Case Studies” http://www1. american. edu/ted/ebola. htm). Ebola alone killed tens of thousands of great apes in central Africa, along with similar numbers of chimpanzees (Chimpanzee numbers dropped 89%). This has become a major threat to the survival of apes in Africa. Together with commercial hunting, the virus may be enough to push them to extinction.
The virus seems to be spreading faster among gorillas than among humans. Because gorilla groups share territories, often eating fruit, defecate and urinate in and around the trees, thus feces from a sick gorilla could easily infect other. Furthermore, gorillas and chimpanzees are known to handle the bodies of sick apes when they find them, which will often spread the virus. This has reduced once large populations down to smaller sizes (used to be some seventeen thousand, now fewer than five thousand gorillas in Africa exists) (“Ebola spreads from animals to hunters” BioEdOnline).
Even though scientists doesn’t have an exact estimate of how many gorillas have been killed by Ebola, they say that roughly twenty-five percent of the world’s gorilla population has been killed by Ebola in the last twelve to fifteen years(Why Ebola is Killing Gorillas http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1615177,00. html). Along with lack of sanitation, Hunting is also a factor in which Ebola can spread. The virus can spread to people when hunters handle infected dead animal bodies.
Even though gorilla hunting is illegal, it continues to be around a lot of the time. The meat of these gorillas will often feed hungry villagers and this hunted bush meat poses health risks (“Bush meat trade poses risks” African Wildlife foundation). In fact, nearly all of the dead animal corpses that were tested were found to be positive for Ebola virus. If hunters were to continue hunting, the virus could be widespread and could outbreak at any given time and place(“Ebola spreads from animals to hunters” BioEdOnline).