Ebola Disease Paper Example

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1729 Words
Date:  2022-08-18


Past outbreaks of the Ebola virus disease have resulted in the deaths of several people. The 2014-2016 epidemic was a catastrophic event with severe global implications. The highly infectious disease spread among nations leading to many reported cases across borders. The virus spreads through human to human transmission. Once an outbreak occurs, it is essential for healthcare service providers to engage the community in containing the disease ("Ebola virus disease," 2018). Measures of regulating spreading of the virus include infection prevention and control strategies. Failure to adequately implement these measures can lead to global epidemics as was the case in the 2014-2016 outbreak. While research on treatment of the virus continues, it remains a fatal illness. This paper discusses concepts of the virus's epidemiology by analyzing aspects such as causes, transmission, treatment, and health care response.

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Cause and Symptoms

The Ebola virus, belonging to the Filoviridae virus family, causes the disease. Once an individual gets infected by the virus, the incubation period takes two to twenty days (Kaur, Sachdeva, Jha, & Sulania, 2017). On average, an infected patient exhibits symptoms of the illness within the first eight to ten days after contact. Some of the common signs and symptoms include fever and severe headaches. The patient experiences other nonspecific signs like weakness, fatigue, and abdominal pains ("Ebola Virus Disease," 2018). Without tests, the initial signs may fail to point to the virus since they are general symptoms of other diseases. Other signs are diarrhea, vomiting and muscle pains. As the infection becomes severe, the patient suffers from hemorrhagic symptoms such as bleeding and unexplained bruising. Infected persons can also show signs of impaired kidney and liver function.

Mode of Transmission

Studies show that fruit bats are the natural hosts of the Ebola virus. The disease attacks the human population through contact with infected nonhuman primates (Kaur et al., 2017). The virus is present in the primates' body fluids and body organs. Researchers attribute initial contact to animals such as the chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys. Once infection occurs, the disease spreads through direct contact with infected persons. Points of entry include broken skin surfaces and mucous membranes in the nose and mouth (Dixon & Schafer, 2014). Human to human transmission occurs via contact with contaminated body fluids such as blood, sweat, saliva, and urine. Also, the use of sharp or piercing objects like syringes with infected fluids leads to infection. It is, therefore, necessary for healthcare workers handling Ebola patients to exercise caution to avoid contamination. The disease also spreads through sexual contact with infected persons.

Complications and Treatment

Diagnosis of Ebola disease involves comprehensive blood tests. The tests require a careful selection of diagnostic methods. The chosen methods take into account factors such as disease incidence and prevalence. The presence of Ebola virus RNA or Ebola virus antibodies confirms infection (Kaur et al., 2017). Treatment for the virus entails rehydration oriented care for the patient. Fluids are administered orally or via intravenous modes. Patient care also involves the treatment of symptoms as they occur. Drug therapies treat complications such as organ dysfunction and renal failure (Dixon & Schafer, 2014). During the 2014-216 outbreak, an experimental vaccine used in Guinea. The vaccine trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, significantly reduced the infection rate.

Demographic of Interest

The West African region has a high prevalence for Ebola outbreaks. The 2014 explosion severely impacted the population across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With thousands of cases confirmed in the region, several patients died. The high morbidity and mortality rates in the area are due to certain factors that hinder efficient response to fatal illnesses. Reports reveal that inadequate surveillance systems and poor public health infrastructure contributed to the high mortality rates (Dixon & Schafer, 2014). The high probability of infection in the sub-Saharan region is due to increased human proximity to reservoir species that host the virus (Kaur et al., 2017). The disease is reportable to National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System in the US. It is advisable to report suspicions of the disease within the first twenty-one-day incubation period. Early reporting is critical to curbing the spread of the Ebola virus.

Health Determinants

A combination of various factors affects the health status of members of a particular community. These factors lead to disparities in the wellness of individuals across multiple environments. Most of the determinants fit under personal, physical and socio-economic factors. Some of the physical characteristics that determine wellness include a conducive environment (Kaur et al., 2017). It allows access to clean sources of water and air for the community. The presence of healthy surroundings and workplaces also influences well-being. Besides, access to excellent transport and communication infrastructure impacts good health (Dietz, Jambai, Paweska, Yoti, & Ksaizek, 2015). Personal characteristics that determine the health status of a community are genetics and individual behaviors. Genetics determine the susceptibility levels to specific diseases. Traits, such as healthy eating, exercising, and stress management also contribute to wellness. Moreover, socio-economic factors such as availability of resources, employment opportunities, and social status determine access to quality healthcare.

During the Ebola outbreak, the determinants of health contributed to the development and spread of the disease in the region. Various healthcare agencies involved in treating the population faced some physical challenges. The affected nations had weak healthcare infrastructure that hindered effective coordination of control measures. Existing health care services could not handle the rapidly increasing number of Ebola cases. Thus, it led to the deployment of additional workers from international partners. Socio-economic factors such as the levels of poverty in the rural areas contributed to the spread due to delayed responses (Dietz et al., 2015). Poverty levels in the countries impeded access to specialized care facilities such as isolation units. Unregulated border migration across the three countries as people explore employment opportunities also impacted the infection rate. Lack of community awareness about the potential risk factors also deterred the implementation of personal protective measures.

The Epidemiologic Triangle

The epidemiologic triad comprises the agent, host, and environmental factors. The three elements interact in a given setting and determine the health status of a community. The agent refers to the particular disease-causing pathogen. The microorganism has to exist in the environment for it to cause the disease. In the case of Ebola, the external agent is the Ebola virus. The virus predominantly exists in primates that live close to the human population. A strain of the virus that belongs to the Zaire ebolavirus species caused the 2014-2016 epidemic ("What is Ebola virus," 2018). The virus' physical and chemical compositions result in fatalities when in contact with the human population. The host factor refers to the organism or human who can contract the disease. Various factors increase an individual's susceptibility to Ebola's causative agent. For the West African population, contact with ill persons and corpses during burials increased the risk of exposure.

The third factor, the environment, refers to external conditions that affect the causative virus and the likelihood of exposure among the host population. For Ebola, biological factors such as the presence of fruit bats and monkeys transmit the agent to the human population. The West African community lives precariously close to wildlife, potentially increasing the risk of infection (Dietz et al., 2015). Socio-economic factors can limit access to standard healthcare facilities. Also, the lack of social awareness about Ebola's mode of transmission allowed the illness to spread through social gatherings. Rampant spreading of the disease was due to overcrowding in funeral ceremonies. The special considerations for the general population of the West African region include the impact of cultural events on the adoption of protective measures. The communities value their beliefs and practices. Hence, despite susceptibility to infection, individuals did not exercise caution to avoid causative agents or infected hosts.

The Role of the Community Health Nurse

Community health nurses primarily participate in disease prevention activities. The nurses aim to reduce the probability of infectious diseases outbreaks in the community. Community health nursing entails evidenced-based research aimed at improving the general health of members of society. Nurses working in the community achieve their objectives by taking into account the role of cultural and socioeconomic factors in the community's wellness ("World Health Organization," 2014). The practitioners work by continually interacting with members of the community to identify cases of illnesses in the society. Due to the close bonds that nurses form in this context, people can easily share information with them. Nurses facilitate healthcare by addressing suspicions of cases and identifying cases in time.

Upon identifying cases of illness or infection, community health workers should inform relevant healthcare authorities. Timely case reporting is critical to effect proper response through comprehensive medical strategies. Reports made by the nurses should be detailed to provide an accurate basis for initiating interventions. In the case of the Ebola outbreak, case identification and reporting were not prompt ("World Health Organization," 2014). Challenges in the region's public health system hindered the effectiveness of the practitioners stationed in the communities. Thus, setting up of Ebola treatment units took time as other health care providers had to begin by identifying most affected regions. The epidemic exposed the inefficiency of community health nursing in the area. It also highlighted significant challenges in the infrastructure that deter service delivery.

Community health nurses play a central role in monitoring the health status of a society. The nurses are responsible for the collection and analysis of data. Data collection helps in identifying the specific health needs of the community. The information is essential to the formulation of appropriate interventions that can mitigate the effects of the disease ("World Health Organization," 2014). Nurses' understanding of the communities they serve enables them to collect accurate and relevant information. After gathering data, the nurses analyze it to facilitate the successful implementation of public health interventions. They create profiles that guide strategic planning and resource allocation to affected regions. After application, they conduct follow-ups to monitor and report on progress made. Fulfillment of these duties was a challenge for the nurses in the West African region. However, the additional staff deployed to the area proved helpful in these processes.

The Role of an International Agency

The Ebola epidemic spread rapidly and posed a threat to the health of the international community. On August 2014, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency that concerned the international community. The high rate of infection, especially in urban areas, increased the risk of spreading to other nations. In response, the World Health Organi...

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Ebola Disease Paper Example. (2022, Aug 18). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/ebola-disease-paper-example

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