Group: Group V ((?)ssRNA)
Species: Zaire ebolavirus
Ebola virus or EBOV, which is formerly labeled as Zaire ebolavirus is one of five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Ebola virus and its genus were both named from the country where it was first discovered which is Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). The first Zaire Ebola virus outbreak happened here and it was in 1976. It was actually suspected to be a new “strain” of the closely related Marburg virus. The virus name was changed to Zaire Ebola virus in 2000 and in 2002 it became species Zaire ebolavirus. However, in 2010, a group of researchers recommended the name Ebola virus to be adopted. At present, “Ebola virus” is not recognized by International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) as a taxonomic rank. They use and recommend only the species designation Zaire ebolavirus. Meaning, they identify Ebola virus as species Zaire ebolavirus. Ebola is a single-stranded RNA virus. It appears to be in long filamentous forms or in shorter U-shape. It may be coiled or branched with a length that varies from 800 nm to 1000 nm and has spikes appearance.
A severe and fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and other mammals called Ebola virus disease (EVD) was caused by EBOV and the other four known ebolaviruses. In fact, the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa that happened last 2013-2015 was mainly because of this Ebola virus. Records show that there were at least 28,616 suspected cases and 11,310 confirmed deaths.
Bats, particularly fruit bats, are said to be the natural reservoir of ebola virus. It is primarily transferred between humans and from animals to humans through body fluids. Examples are blood and secretions of infected person. A person can also be infected if he/she comes in contact with contaminated objects such as needles from infected persons. It cannot be transmitted through air making this virus less contagious compared to other viruses. Symptoms can be seen after 2 to 21 days of exposure to the virus. The following are signs and symptoms that a person is infected: headache, fever, weakness, joint and muscle pain, red eyes, sore throat, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. Difficulty in breathing and bleeding (including internal) is also one of the symptoms. Infected persons are isolated to avoid transmission. They are also given enough care like providing fluids and oxygen, and treatment for other infections they have. Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment yet for this disease according to World Health Organization. Extensive research should still be done to find and make vaccines for this deadly virus.