Latest Infectious Disease News
To stop the spread of deadly Ebola and Marburg infections, UCLA scientists are building biobanks with blood samples taken from survivors of the disease.
Investigators hope to learn why some people develop a natural immunity to these highly infectious viruses, and how their immunity compares to those who have been vaccinated.
This yearlong project is designed to find new ways to stop viruses. Samples from people who survived the illnesses will be used along with blood samples from volunteers who have received investigational vaccines, as well as controls.
The $1.5 million project is slated to finish by Sept. 2020.
What Is Ebola?
Ebola was discovered relatively recently, according to MedicineNet author Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD. The strain was first discovered in 1976, and it has caused several outbreaks since then, mainly in Africa.
Dr. Davis notes that the Ebola mortality rate is high, ranging from 25% to 100%, a rate that varies with each outbreak.
People risk infection by coming in contact with the bodily fluids of infected people. This is why health workers in affected areas follow careful hygiene and barrier techniques, he said.
Early symptoms of Ebola virus disease are nonspecific, meaning they are found in many other conditions, Dr. Davis said. They include:
- headache (severe),
- stomach discomfort or pain in the abdomen,
- decreased appetite, and
- joint and muscle discomfort.
As the disease progresses, patients may develop other symptoms and signs such as:
- a rash or red spots on the skin,
- eye redness,
- sore throat,
- cough and/or coughing up blood,
- vomiting up blood,
- chest pain,
- mental confusion,
- bleeding both inside and outside the body (for example, mucosal surfaces, eyes), and
- difficulty swallowing and breathing.