|Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever distribution map of outbreaks in Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Ebolavirus belonging to the Filoviridae family is one of the most virulent human pathogen causing fulminant hemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of upto 90%! Fruit bats are the likely reservoir, and human infection occurs through contact with bats or infected animal carcasses or by person-to-person contact (through body fluids, medical care, and burial practices)
Cutaneous manifestations are never prominent but may aid diagnosis. The common cutaneous manifestations are a measles like maculo-papular rash predominantly distributed on the upper arms, flexor surface of the forearms and upper legs. The rash usually starts on the 5th – 6th day subsiding with desquamation after 2 weeks. Desquamation is prominent over the palms and soles. Purpuric or petechial rashes and red eye are also common. Jaundice may be seen in very severe cases with multi-organ failure. Immunohistochemical examination of skin biopsy can confirm diagnosis.
An experimental Ebola vaccine called VSV-EBOV was developed in the Canadian city of Winnipeg recently that offers some hope to the victims. The VSV-EBOV vaccine will be offered to West Africa, though it is untested in humans considering the extraordinary circumstances. The Ebola research in Winnipeg was led by Dr Heinz Feldmann.
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