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Ebola death toll in affected West African countries has now reached 1,427. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the on-going Ebola outbreak is the largest so far and probably the reported cases could be underestimated.
One of the top public health officials told BBC on Thursday that the outbreak is likely to worsen much more before it starts getting better. According to Tom Frieden, director of the US-based Centres for Disease Control, the epidemic would need an extraordinary response and measures to bring it under control. In order to discuss the detailed strategy and regional response to the crisis, health ministers from the Economic Community of West African States will hold a meeting Thursday in Ghana's capital Accra.
Early symptoms of Ebola
Fever: Increase in body temperature is the first defence mechanism that the body uses to kill any foreign particle invading the body. When Ebola infects the body, it causes a release of various compounds like cytokines and histamines that pass on the signals of increasing body temperature. In fact, Ebola virus disease is also called the Ebola haemorrhagic fever, where the temperature can go above 38.6 C or 101.5 F.
Headache: It is the most common symptom of Ebola infection after fever, present in almost 96 percent of the cases. Nausea and headache along with fever present a typical case of common cold and flu. At this stage, the symptoms can be confused with other common infections.
Stomach pain: A few viral particles invade the liver and starts destroying the hepatocytes. New virions start damaging the intestinal cells causing abdominal pain.
Drop in blood pressure: The cytokines and histamines released by the immune cells, soon after the entry of the virus in the body, increases the permeability of the cells lining the blood vessels. This causes leakage of water from the blood into the surrounding tissues and a sudden drop in blood pressure. (Here are 9 warning symptoms of Ebola you should watch out for)
Photo source: Getty images
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