If there’s one virus that scares the living daylights out of anyone on planet earth – it’s Ebola. Named after the Ebola river that runs through the Democratic Republic of Congo, this aggressive and contagious virus strikes fear into the hearts and minds of anyone that hears its name.
For decades, Ebola has made appearances in mainstream media and movies as a killer virus that wipes out communities – and while Hollywood tends to exaggerate the effects of pandemics, the truth is that this is that their representation of the virus as a killer disease is not far off the mark.
Ebola is responsible for the deaths of nearly 20,000 people in the last two decades, with an outbreak currently underway in central Africa as of this writing. The virus is incredibly proficient at killing its host, and those infected individuals that do not receive the necessary treatment in time may perish as a result.
Here are eight important facts about the Ebola virus.
1. Ebola Transmits from Animals to Humans
Ebola virus originates from the Democratic Republic of Congo – a central African nation. The Ebola river runs through the center of the country, snaking through many of the nation’s provinces, and scientists named the virus after this river, which is thought to be the home of the fruit bats that carry the virus.
Animals, such as fruit bats, may carry the virus and shed it through their feces and urine. The fruit bats may shed the virus in feces, that they then drop onto leaves and fruit, which local villagers then consume. After eating the contaminated fruit, the infected person experiences an incubation period that lasts for anywhere between 2 to 21-days before symptoms start to present.
Medical science and investigators still are uncertain about the exact cause or delivery mechanism for the virus, and the fruit theory is the top assumption. However, other researchers state that the infection may also transmit through eating the meat of contaminated animals, such as monkeys, bats, and gorillas.