Ivory Coast ebolavirus Reston ebolavirus Sudan ebolavirus
Ebola is the common term for a group of viruses belonging to genus Ebolavirus (EBOV), which is a part of the family Filoviridae, and for the disease that they cause, Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The virus is named after the Ebola River, where the first recognized outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occurred. The viruses are characterized by long filaments, and have a shape similar to that of the Marburg virus, also in the family Filoviridae, and possessing similar disease symptoms.
There are a number of species within the ebolavirus genus, which in turn have a number of specific strains or serotypes. The Zaïre virus is the type species, which is also the first discovered and the most lethal. Ebola is transmitted primarily through bodily fluids and to a limited extent through skin and mucous membrane contact. The virus interferes with the endothelial cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels and platelet cells. As the blood vessel walls become damaged and the platelets are unable to coagulate, patients succumb to hypovolemic shock.
Ebola first emerged in 1976 in Zaire. It remained largely obscure until 1989 with a widely publicized outbreak in Reston, Virginia.
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