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Lecture 9

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Viral Hemorrhagic Fever, Medical Anthropology, Abdominal Pain

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Bernice Kaczynski

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Guest Speaker - Lauren Wallace Oct. 19
the 2014-2015 African Ebola outbreak
her fieldwork was on family size and contraceptive use in northern Ghana
What is Ebola?
- viral hemorrhagic fever
- first appeared in 1976
- Zoonotic disease: disease passed from animals (wild or domestic) to humans
- reservoir is fruit bats (this is the wild animal that carries it)
- so those who handle these animals are at a higher risk to getting it
- this includes consuming them or anything they were connected with (like
contaminated fruit)
- it disarms the immune response and vascular system
Symptoms: (appearing 2-21 days after exposure)
- fever
- weakness and fatigue
- vomiting and diarrhea
- abdominal pain
- delirea
- sometimes bleeding from gums, nose and eyes or other orifices (in less than 50% of
death in 50-90% of cases
usually from shock (loss of fluids) and organ failure
Human to Human Transmission:
transmitted through contact with body fluids of infected, symptomatic people
health care workers frequently infected while treating patients
protective equipment (ie goggles, gloves) necessary
- no approved vaccine or medicine is available for Ebola
- though there is one in a clinical trial right now and it looking successful
- can only treat the symptoms (especially dehydration)
Prevention and Control:
- reducing the risk of wildlife to human transmission (cooking meat well etc)
- reducing human to human transmission (including wearing gloves etc)
- outbreak containment measures
- safe burials of the dead
- monitoring the health of contacts
the number of deaths due to Ebola is a lot less than some other diseases in Africa
previously Ebola outbreaks did not spread the same way as this one
find more resources at
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