Thursday, April 12, 2012

History of Ebola

In 1976, a double epidemic in Africa of unknown, highly fatal viral hemorrhagic fever led to the discovery of a new virus. The outbreaks resulted in 430 deaths with more than 550 cases.

Together with the Marburg virus it was subsequently defined as the prototype of new virus family, Filoviridae, characterized by genetic material carried by only one thread of RNA with negative polarity.

In the next 20 years, an additional 18 outbreaks of Ebola virus infections in humans have been recognized.

Ebola virus is named after a rover in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where is was first discovered.

The source of these outbreaks was never determined. These outbreaks were followed by several smaller outbreaks in the late 1970s.

In 2008, tissue samples from pigs that died of unknown causes in the Philippines were analyzed and found to contain Ebola-Reston virus. This was the first time that the virus was found in a mammalian species other than primates.

According to history the Great Plaque of Athens struck Greece between 430 and 425 BC. Some historians believe it killed one-third to one half of Greece’s population – up to three hundred thousand people. Experts believe that the plaque of Athens was an epidemic of Ebola virus.

The researchers said that Ebola symptoms and the plaque symptoms reported by Thucydides in his books The History of the Peloponnesian War were very similar.
History of Ebola
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