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The Worlds Fight Against Microbes Many infectious diseases that were nearly eradicated from theindustrialized world and newly emerging diseases are now breaking out all over the worlddue to the misuse of medicines such as antibiotics and antivirals the destruction of ourenvironment and shortsighted political action andor inaction Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a group of diseases caused by viruses fromfour distinct families of viruses filoviruses arenaviruses flaviviruses andbunyaviruses The usual hosts for most of these viruses are rodents or arthropods and insome viruses such as the Ebola virus the natural host is not known All forms of viralhemorrhagic fever begin with fever and muscle aches and depending on the particularvirus the disease can progress until the patient becomes deathly ill with respiratoryproblems severe bleeding kidney problems and shock The severity of these diseases canrange from a mild illness to death CDC I The Ebola virus is a member of a family of RNA ribonucleic acidviruses known as filoviruses When these viruses are magnified several thousand times byan electron microscope they have the appearance of long filaments or threads Filovirusescan cause hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals and because of this they are extremelyhazardous Laboratory studies of these viruses must be carried out in special maximumcontainment facilities such as the Centers for Disease Control CDC in Atlanta Georgiaand the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases USAMRIIDat Fort Detrick in Frederick Maryland CDC III The Ebola hemorrhagic fever in humans is a severe systemic illnesscaused by infection with Ebola virus There are four subtypes of Ebola virus Ebola-ZaireEbola-Sudan Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Reston which are not just variations of asingle virus but four distinct viruses Three of these subtypes are known to causedisease in humans and they are the Zaire Sudan and Ivory Coast subtypes Out of all thedifferent viral hemorrhagic fevers known to occur in humans those caused by filoviruseshave been associated with the highest case-fatality rates These rates can be as high
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