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Epidemiology of Ebola

Info: 2020 words (8 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Tagged: epidemiology

  • Genesis Santiago

Introduction & Historical Significance

Epidemiology is the study of disease distributed amongst a certain population of people. This study zooms in on groups versus individual people in the population. Epidemiology is specifically concerned with studying and surveying a population to understand what groups are being affected and whether it is based on age, sex, ethnic group, and or occupation. Furthermore the data collected during the survey and study are utilized to come to a conclusion on risk factors and how to prevent further spread of the epidemic.

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The Ebola virus disease is an epidemic that has returned to claim more lives than one can count. This virus was formerly known as the hemorrhagic fever. The virus was first discovered during an outbreak dated back to the year 1976. The virus obtained its name from the Ebola River in Africa. EBOV causes death in 80 to 90 percent of cases


Natural Life History

Just as any other virus Ebola’s goal is to enter the host and replicate. Ebola has one major difference from other viruses, which is that the reservoir species is unknown. Not knowing the reservoir of the Ebola virus makes this part of the life cycle a mystery.

What scientists do know about the virus is the effects and the manner in which the virus operates once it has invaded the host. The virus is made up of seven proteins that work together to consume the host cell as it begins making countless copies of itself. The seven proteins that make up the virus, violently attack the body of the cell and it’s and the structural proteins of the body of the host. Ebola multiplies at a rapid speed and immediately the infected cells become full of crystal-like blocks of virus components. The incubation period of the virus is 2 to 21 days.

Ebola was first discovered in Ebola River located in West Africa. Speculation about the virus living in animal host that are native to Africa has also been a hot topic. The suspected reservoirs of the virus include bats, insects, rodents and primates that can be found in the tropical forests of Africa and Asia. In other words the virus thrives in native animals. Fortunately any animal that may have the Ebola virus if cooked cannot infect a human however when uncooked it can. If the virus does not have a host or a reservoir it cannot survive. Currently scientists do not know how the virus is killed.



The pathophysiology of the disease is a more complicated then many would think. If studied under an electron microscope, the virus appears as long filaments that can be branched and even weaved. The particles of the virus consist of a molecule of noninfectious single-stranded RNA. Scientists have no knowledge on how the virus attacks the cells. It has not been confirmed but researchers believe proteins suppress the immune system. These proteins that suppress the immune system are now allowed to produce replicates of the virus. Ebola can be spread through contact with bodily fluids and/or blood. Studies show that of the very few that miraculously survived from the disease still retained the virus in their organs after recovery. The disease is easy to spread in unsanitary areas that do not have enough medical supplies. Another way many are being infected is through rituals done when person has passed away. The body fluids still carry the disease. Using aseptic procedures when treating infected patient and wearing protective can prevent the transmission of the Ebola virus.


Prevalence, Morbidity & Mortality

Ebola has claimed thousands of lives already. On August 31, 2014 it was reported by the CDC that 2,106 death cases were confirmed in the laboratory of having been caused by Ebola. On September 5, 2014 it was reported by WHO that 3,944 people have been infected by the virus. The current mortality rate of the Ebola virus is 49.9 % however it can reach 90%, in other words about half of the infected cases have resulted in fatalities.




Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Interventions

There are three levels of interventions that can and should be applied when handling when preventing or treating disease.

Primary interventions are used to reduce or prevent the chances that a disease or injury can affect a person. The primary interventions that would be applied to avoid or reduce the chances of contracting the virus is staying away from areas of known outbreaks. When consuming food avoid bush meat as they are suspected to carry the virus. When caring for patients use aseptic procedures and sanitize hands often. In order to prevent Ebola from spreading any further, everyone should be educated on the disease including signs and symptoms and the way it is transmitted. If a patient is infected use protective clothing. Another way to prevent contracting the illness is the use infection control measures. There is no cure at the moment for Ebola so there are vaccines one can receive to prevent contracting the virus. If a person becomes infected he/she must be isolated. In the unfortunate event that a patient passes away, do not attend funeral or burial that requires that one must handle the corpse.

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Secondary Prevention includes practices and precaution used such as early detection screening and immediate intervention to keep the disease contained. There’s no way to detect the illness early on. It may take up to 22 days to experience symptoms of the virus. The immediate response to the disease would be to isolate the patient and begin to support the immune system.

In using tertiary prevention the goal is to prevent anymore physical more deterioration of the body and improving quality of life as much as possible. Tertiary prevention does not exist at this moment as there is no known cure for Ebola virus. The only way for survival is if the patient’s immune system is strong enough to fight off the infection. The goal of a healthcare provider is to take care of the body and help to strengthen the immune system of the patient so that it can fight off the infection. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/

Healthy People 2020 Objectives

What does Healthy People 2020 have to say about this problem? What objectives/goals do they have? If it is not addressed in Healthy People 2020, state so, but look into the CDC or WHO to find out what do they have to say about this problem. Provide Citations.

After searching the healthy people 2020 database for information and studies done on Ebola I was unable to find any information. According to the CDC

It is currently working with United States government agencies, WHO including domestic and international partners on one of the largest Ebola outbreaks. The CDC says that this outbreak is indeed the first outbreak in West Africa. Fortunately for the United States the Ebola virus does not pose a threat to the United States. Most importantly the CDC has now activated its Emergency Operations Center. The (EOC) is set up to help with technical assistance and organize communication with it’s partners. CDC has sent a number of health care experts to the West of Africa to several teams of public health experts to the West Africa region to begin helping the country in this crisis.



Summarized the most important points from your research. Provide citations. What recommendations can you offer to deal with the problem.

In conclusion, the Ebola virus currently does not a confirmed resivre it comes from. Due to the fact that researchers still do not completely understand the pathophysiology of the virus this disease is hard to control and no cure is known yet. The lack of knowledge on the disease including the lack of resources is the reason the virus has been spreading like a wild fire. Thousands of West Africans are growing fearful and skeptical of the disease and even more dangerously the health care providers. Thousands of people have lost their lives or loved ones to this virus. As a nation I believe all we can do at this point is pray for that this crisis is isolated, and a cure is found soon. Although there is no significant threat of the virus in our country one can never be sure, therefore we should always wash our hands, and report signs of any symptoms as soon as possible.


Epidemiology. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epidemiology

2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. (2014, August 29). Retrieved September 3, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/index.html

Outbreaks Chronology: Ebola Virus Disease. (2014, August 29). Retrieved September 1, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/history/chronology.html

Prevention. (2014, September 19). Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/

CDC Calls Ebola Outbreak “Perfect Viral Storm” As Infected Count Reaches Almost 4,000 With Over 1,500 Fatalities… (2014, September 5). Retrieved September 8, 2014, from http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/09/09/cdc-calls-ebola-outbreak-perfect-viral-storm-as-infected-count-reaches-almost-4000-with-over-1500-fatalities/


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Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare

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