Patients are usually asymptomatic when they first contract ebola virus, as there is an average 10 day incubation period. While this is the average, the incubation period can range from 2 to 21 days.
Initially, there are nonspecific, flu-like symptoms seen with Ebola. Patients complain of headache, muscle aches, fatigue and fever at first.
Ebola causes a disseminated intravascular coagulation-like syndrome. Patients use up clotting factors and develop problems with blood clotting (due to shortage of factors). This leads to rapidly progressive bleeding in the mucosal membranes, skin, and internal organs (organ liquefaction). Hematemesis and hemoptysis are often seen as well.
As the disease progresses, patients display hematemesis and hemoptysis, due to organ hemorrhage.
Patients begin to show bleeding from various mucous membranes, such as the mouth, nose and eyes.
As blood clotting is impaired, patients are more prone to skin bruising. Other skin manifestations include petechiae, purpura, hematomas and jaundice (from blood breakdown products).
As blood-clotting is impaired, the internal organs progressively begin to hemorrhage. Bleeding occurs most in the GI tract, but multi-organ dysfunction syndrome happens later in the disease process. This leads to "organ liquefaction" and death.
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