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What is the Ebola virus and should I be afraid?
Question Date: 2014-10-02
Answer 1:

So Ebola is a virus and like any virus, its main goal is to trick your own cells into making copies of it. It mainly affects cells of the immune system which is one of the main reasons your body has trouble getting rid of it. Since its using human cells to reproduce in the body, it stops the cells from performing their normal functions which leads to severe sickness. For most people the symptoms will be flu-like, but for some people, there will be severe internal and external bleeding. It’s very simple and all it can really do is get into your cells and make more viruses.

As reference, the Ebola virus has 7 genes whereas a human has 20,000 genes. Experts think that the virus originated in bats and that people in Africa that eat bats may have got the disease first.

Ebola is a big problem in parts of West Africa right now. This is mostly due to the fact that the countries which are affected are very poor and don’t have the ability to contain the virus effectively. However, in the United States we are very equipped to deal with viral outbreaks and have a world-leading organization just for this purpose, the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, we can put a lot more money into making sure people don’t spread the disease and are treated properly. If you read or watch the news, Ebola probably seems pretty scary. That’s because news organizations are businesses and they are trying to make money. If you are scared of Ebola, then you will watch the news every day which makes them more money. As scientists, it is important to look at all the facts and not get scared just because everybody else is scared.

To quote an expert on the Ebola outbreak, if you are afraid of getting Ebola, “Turn of the TV.”

Answer 2:

Ebola is a virus. It's a particularly bad virus, but not biologically different in function than a cold. It is deadly because it can make you bleed inside and have a bad fever. Should you be afraid of it? No, definitely not. It's spreading in Africa because of a lack of good medical facilities. You can only get this from touching the bodily fluids (sweat, spit, blood, etc.) of people who have the virus. It is difficult to spread, but, overseas they do not have the ability to contain it as well. It will not spread in America because in general we have better facilities to treat sick people without touching them. If someone has Ebola, the way to stop it from spreading is just to not touch them. This is definitely a case of knowledge being better than fear, since fear and confusion in Africa have led to a lot of the deaths and panic.

Answer 3:

A Ebola is also called hemorrhagic fever in humans. Viruses infect the cells of a living organism in order to reproduce. Ebola is a type of virus which can be contracted through blood bodily fluids and can cause fever, internal and external bleeding, weakness, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Major outbreaks have been recorded in Liberia and Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. One of the first Americans to be infected by the virus were two doctors who were doing social work in those regions of Africa. Currently, there is no specific, guaranteed treatment available for the virus.

Even though the Ebola virus may be fatal to some people, unless you are traveling to Africa you shouldn't be necessarily scared about it. You should definitely be cautious, since the infected doctors were brought back to the US and because there may have been one documented case in the US. As with any virus, you should always be cautious, always wash your hands, and maintain hygienity. The US has a good containment infrastructure such that there is a low probability there will be an Ebola outbreak in the nation.

This article will give you more information also:
read here

Answer 4:

The ebola virus is a very lethal virus that lives in parts of tropical Africa and may spread elsewhere in the world as a result of transportation of infected people and possibly climate change. If you travel to an area that contains it, or if that area expands to include you, then you should be aware of it, but it is highly likely that there are other things that you should be *more* afraid of than ebola, even among diseases (malaria leaps to mind, for example).

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