Understanding Ebola Virus

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Understanding Ebola Virus

Among all the biological entities, viruses are the highest in number. While they are important for the efficient functioning of most ecosystems and are generally harmless to humans, some viruses can cause problems in the human body. They can spread from one person to another in different ways making the disease caused by them highly contagious.

Since they cannot reproduce on their own, viruses hijack a healthy living cell in the human body and use it to multiply and produce more viruses like themselves. As a result, the host cell dies by the time the replication process is complete. This process can make the host human body feel weak and sick.

Different types of viruses affect different parts of the human body. In this article, we are going to talk about the Ebola Virus. Talking about viral infections, numerous viruses have infected the human population over centuries. Of these, some are still present, like the influenza virus, while many others have been identified much later. The Ebola Virus was identified in 1976 in Africa. This is a highly contagious virus that causes hemorrhagic fever.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a fatal disease. When infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. Humans get infected with the virus when they come in close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal. In the initial incident, some humans got infected due to handling some ill or dead animals in the forest.

There is no cure for Ebola HF, but early detection and treatment can increase the chances of survival. If the patient experiences severe symptoms, the doctor usually recommends immediate hospitalisation and starts the treatment without delay. This can increase the costs exponentially. Without a health insurance plan, managing these expenses can drain your savings and investments.

Tata AIG offers comprehensive medical insurance that covers a range of diseases and illnesses. We have a simplified claim filing process and a high claim settlement ratio that stands as a testament to our commitment to customer satisfaction. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and importance of a health insurance plan for the Ebola virus.

What is the Ebola Virus?

The Ebola Virus belongs to the Filoviridae family of viruses. It is a highly contagious and fatal virus that causes Ebola HF or Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The first ebola outbreak happened in the Republic of Congo in 1976, where the virus was first identified.

Once the virus enters the human population through contact with an infected animal, it spreads fast when the infected person comes in contact with others. The infected person's bodily fluids carry the virus, and anyone coming in contact with those fluids can get infected.

Upon entering the body, the virus attacks the immune system and causes multiple organ failure that results in the patient's death.

Types of Ebola Virus

Species Year of identification Mortality rate Geographic distribution Primary host
Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) 1976 Up to 90% Central and West Africa Fruit bats
Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) 1976 40% to 60% Central and East Africa Fruit bats
Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV) 1994 0.25 Ivory Coast Unknown
Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV) 2007 25% to 36% Central and East Africa Fruit bats
Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) 1989 Non-lethal Philippines, China, USA (imported) Unknown

Ebola Virus Symptoms

When a person is infected with the Ebola virus, the first set of symptoms starts appearing within 2-21 days. They are initially dry symptoms like fever, aches, and tiredness, eventually progressing to wet symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting.

Here are some of the commonly observed symptoms of an Ebola virus infection:

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sore throat

  • Aches and pains

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Unexplained bleeding (internal or external)

As you can see, the symptoms are similar to those caused by various other diseases. This makes it difficult to detect and diagnose unless tested properly.

Causes of Ebola Virus Disease

The Ebola Virus is a zoonotic virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. It is believed that it was introduced to humans by the fruit bats, while other animals like gorillas and monkeys can also carry the virus. Humans can get infected with the virus in three ways**

Contact with an infected animal If you are in close contact with an infected animal and its bodily fluids, then you can get infected with the virus.

Contact with an infected person You can also get infected by coming in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. These fluids include blood, tissue, semen, saliva, etc.

Infection through a contaminated surface If you touch a surface contaminated with the virus and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, then you can get infected too.

Ebola Risk Factors

Here are some factors that increase the risk of contracting the virus**

  • Exposure to infected animals

  • Healthcare workers who work with blood and other bodily fluids regularly

  • Attending the funeral of an infected person and getting in close contact with the deceased

  • Traveling to areas where there is an outbreak of EVD

  • Not using masks, gloves, and other protective gear while managing an ebola patient

  • People with a weakened immune system

Diagnosis of Ebola Virus

Since the initial symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease are similar to various other diseases, early diagnosis is usually difficult. If there is an ebola outbreak, it is easier for the medical professional to run the necessary tests and diagnose EVD.

However, if it is a stray case, the doctor might recommend lab tests only if there are EVD-specific symptoms and potential exposure to the virus.

Hence, the diagnosis is done in two parts:

  • The doctor talks to the patient to understand symptoms, recent travel destinations, and possible exposure to an infected animal or person. If the doctor suspects EVD, he will isolate the patient and take blood samples to conduct lab tests.

  • The doctor then runs lab tests on the samples taken from the patient to determine the presence of the Ebola virus. These tests include polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs).

Ebola Treatment

While many researchers are trying to find a cure, and some breakthrough has been made for the infections caused by Zaire ebolavirus species, there is still no cure for EVD. However, medical professionals can opt for various treatments to manage the symptoms and boost the patient’s chances of surviving the disease. The doctor also puts the patient on supportive care to help fight the disease.

This includes:

  • Intravenous fluids and electrolytes

  • Medicines to manage blood pressure and reduce diarrhoea and vomiting

  • Treatment of any secondary infections

  • Medicines for managing pain

Preventing Ebola Virus Disease

There are many ways of preventing ebola virus disease as listed below:

  • Avoid close contact with people suspected of having any viral infection

  • Avoid coming in close contact with animals that seem ill. Also, avoid touching any bodily fluid of an animal with bare hands

  • If you are in an area affected by an ebola outbreak, then

  • Wash hands regularly

  • Avoid contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person

  • Avoid attending funerals where you have to handle the body of the deceased person

  • Don’t get too close to bats and non-human primates

  • If you are a healthcare worker managing infected patients, then

  • Always wear protective clothing

  • Practice all the sterilisation measures prescribed by the hospital

  • Avoid direct contact with the dead bodies of people who have died due to EVD

  • While there is an experimental vaccine for the Ebola Virus, make sure that you talk to your doctor before looking for it.

Why Use a Medical Insurance Plan?

Ebola Virus is a fatal virus that causes haemorrhagic fever in humans. Its initial symptoms are not unique to help early detection. Hence, in many cases, the patient is diagnosed with EVD only after the disease has advanced into its later stages.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor might recommend hospitalisation and isolation. Supportive care might be provided based on the symptoms of the patient. These measures can be costly and strain your finances.

Hence, you need a health insurance plan that covers diseases like EVD, among other diseases. When you opt for a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG, you get a range of benefits, including**

Complete coverage Our health insurance plans offer coverage for a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. You also get coverage for diagnostic test costs, consultation fees, hospitalisation costs, and post-hospitalization expenses.

Hence, if you are facing a medical emergency, you can get the best treatment without worrying about the costs of hospitalisation and medical care.

Cashless claim settlement Tata AIG offers cashless claim settlement where it pays the hospital where you are getting treated directly on your behalf. You are not required to pay upfront and claim later.

We approve your treatment based on the policy terms and pays the hospital up to the sum insured. The key is that you need to get treated at a network hospital to get the cashless claim settlement benefit.

Premium reduction Tata AIG calculated the policy premium based on your profile and medical history.

Suppose you are getting all the features in the policy that you need to create a financial safety net for medical emergencies for your family, but the premium is high. In that case, we offer you the option of copayment and voluntary deductible.

Under these options, you agree to pay a certain amount at the time of every claim settlement in exchange for a discount on the premium amount. Hence, you get the same policy at a lower premium rate.

Customer Support We understand that you might have questions about your health insurance policy and the coverage offered during medical emergencies. Hence, our dedicated team of client support professionals help answer all your queries and doubts at any time of the day or night.

How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance?

Here is a quick look at the process to buy Tata AIG health insurance:

Online Process

  • Visit our official website (www.tataaig.com)

  • Go to the Health Insurance Page or navigate to it by scrolling to the top menu on the home page and clicking on “Health Insurance”

  • Choose the number of family members you want to cover under the policy. You can opt for an individual policy or include members as listed on the site

  • Enter information about all covered members

  • Click on ‘See Plan’

  • On the next page, you will find a range of plans that suit your age, gender, and other information provided

  • Select a plan based on your requirements

  • Choose the sum assured

  • On the next page, you will be able to see the premium of the policy

  • If you are opting for an individual policy, then you can compare plans and premium amounts to find the best fit

  • Click on ‘Buy Now’

  • We will call you to complete the buying process

Offline purchase:

  • Visit the closest TATA AIG office

  • Talk to our representative and explain your insurance requirements

  • Choose the best plan for your needs

  • Fill out the required forms and attach the necessary documents

  • Pay the fees

Documents Needed to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan

At Tata AIG, we request information about yourself and your medical history to assess the risks associated with offering coverage to you. We use this information to calculate the coverage and premium of the policy.

We also request documents to substantiate the information provided. Every applicant has a unique requirement, and hence, we request documents accordingly.

Here is a common list of documents needed to buy a health insurance policy from us

Age Proof Aadhar Card, passport, etc.

Address Proof Utility bill, bank statement, etc.

Identity Proof PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.

Medical History Doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease

Other documents IT returns, proof of income, etc.

What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?

Once a patient is diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease, the doctor immediately puts him on supportive care based on the symptoms and starts with the basic treatment. For most patients, this usually involves hospitalisation. Hence, the costs of treatment start rising in no time.

A comprehensive health insurance plan can help you manage these expenses without breaking the bank. Before you set out to buy a health insurance plan, here are some things to look for:

Optimum coverage amount

The coverage amount is the sum insured by the health insurance policy. The insurer will not honour any claim that crosses the sum insured.

Let’s say that you buy a health insurance policy with a sum insured of ₹5 lakh. You get diagnosed with a disease and have to get hospitalised. You choose a non-network hospital since it is close to your residence. The total hospital bill comes up to ₹6 lakh.

After discharge, you approach the insurer and file a claim for ₹5 lakh. With all other aspects being in order, the insurer will approve a maximum cost of ₹5 lakh. Hence, you will have to pay the balance amount yourself.

Hence, before buying a policy, make sure that you know the right sum insured amount to get the best coverage for your loved ones.

Cost-efficiency

Look for an insurer that offers competitive premium rates for the policies offered. Also, check if the insurer offers copayment or voluntary deductible options as they allow you to reduce your premium liability by agreeing to pay a certain amount at the time of claim settlement. Compare different plans and choose the most cost-efficient plan for your health insurance needs.

Hospital network

Make sure that the list of network hospitals of the insurer includes hospitals close to your place of residence. This will allow you to get cashless treatment during medical emergencies with ease.

Things to Remember for Filing a Claim for Ebola Virus

Apart from the sum insured, inclusions, exclusions, and other features of the policy, make sure that you look at the claim filing process and the claim settlement ratio of the insurer. These aspects will help you understand how quickly you can expect the insurer to honour your claim. Health insurance claims are settled in two ways – cashless and reimbursement.

01: Cashless claim settlement

In cashless claim settlement, the insurer pays the hospital directly for the costs incurred by your hospitalisation and treatment. You are not required to make any upfront payment. The insurer pays the hospital up to the sum insured and helps you focus on the treatment, not the expenses.

Consider these things before applying for cashless claim settlement:

  • Cashless treatment will not be possible without approval from the insurer. Hence, if you have planned a treatment, inform the insurer at least five days in advance and get approval for the treatment.

  • If you get admitted due to a medical emergency, call the insurer within 24 hours of getting admitted to get approval for cashless treatment.

02: Reimbursement claim settlement

The other way of settling claims is via reimbursement claim settlement. If you are not getting treated at a network hospital or if your insurer does not offer cashless treatment, then you are required to pay for the treatment and file for reimbursement later. Here are some things to remember for reimbursement claim settlement:

  • Understand the complete process for filing claims

  • Submit the claim request in the prescribed format along with the specified documents

  • Make sure that you don’t miss any deadlines or timelines

Here are some additional tips for Ebola Virus claims:

  • The health insurance policy should be active and in force

  • You must understand the kind of coverage offered by going through the policy documents

Health Insurance Tax Benefits

In India, when you pay a premium for a medical insurance policy, you can avail of health insurance tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This is available to individuals and HUFs who purchase policies for their families and parents.

Under this section, they can apply for a tax deduction of the premium amount from their annual taxable incomes. Here are the tax deduction limits:

  • Policy for self (under 60 years of age) + family - ₹25,000

  • Policy for self (above 60 years of age) + family - ₹50,000

  • HUF policy (primary member under 60 years of age) - ₹25,000

  • HUF policy (primary member above 60 years of age) - ₹50,000

NRI health insurance policy - ₹25,000

  • Policyholders can claim a double tax benefit if they are buying a separate policy for their dependent policy. It works the following ways:

  • Policy for self (under 60 years of age) + family and a separate policy for parents (also under 60 years of age) - ₹25,000 + ₹25,000 = ₹50,000

  • Policy for self (under 60 years of age) + family and a separate policy for parents (above 60 years of age) - ₹25,000 + ₹50,000 = ₹75,000

  • Policy for self (above 60 years of age) + family and a separate policy for parents (also above 60 years of age) - ₹50,000 + ₹50,000 = ₹1,00,000 (this is the maximum tax deduction permissible)

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Related Articles

Q1. Can a person with the Ebola virus be cured?

Q1. Can a person with the Ebola virus be cured?

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There is no cure for the Ebola virus. However, doctors use a combination of symptom treatments and supportive care to help the patient battle the disease.

Q2. Can a person who has recovered from the Ebola virus get infected again?

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While it is rare, a person who has recovered from the Ebola Virus can get infected again. Many scientists believe that the person will remain immune after the infection due to the presence of antibodies in the system, but it is not clear how long this immunity can last.

Q3. Can the Ebola virus be transmitted through mosquitoes?

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No, mosquitoes cannot transmit the Ebola virus. You can get infected only via direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected animal or person.

Q4. Is there a vaccine for the Ebola virus?

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Many vaccines are being tried for the Ebola Virus. They are being developed for the different species of the virus. Hence, it is important to talk to your doctor about their availability and use.

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