Where does the name “Ebola” come from?
The virus is named after the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That’s where the virus was discovered in 1976.
If there’s no vaccine or cure, what are doctors doing to treat Ebola patients?
For now, all doctors can do is treat the symptoms and provide supportive care like monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing while making sure the patients’ fluids are replenished. Sometimes patients are given antibiotics to treat other possible infections. The hope is to sustain the patient through the infection so their immune system can eventually clear the virus. This is harder to achieve in rural health systems in West Africa that are tasked with treating thousands of patients with insufficient resources.
How do some people recover if there’s no cure?
When the body is infected with a virus, it starts creating antibodies to attack it. The people who survive Ebola—or any virus—have created enough antibodies to neutralize it.