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I was wondering... If Ebola attacks immune cells and causes immunosupression, then shouldn't we see death in Ebola patients due to secondary infection?

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  • $\begingroup$ Secondary infections does not matter when you bleed to death... Btw. I hate this ebola hype, it is a relatively insignificant lethal virus, nothing more. $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Dec 8 '14 at 5:13
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Yes, we should. But Ebola doesn't completely immunosuppress us, or there would be no survivors.

Ebola kills by overwhelming the body before enough antibodies are formed to fight it.

If you're one of the survivors (as about 40-50% are, more with good care), you'll have antibodies to Ebola in your blood which might help someone else infected with Ebola.

If you're not one of the survivors, it's still likely you'll have some antibodies, but the shock your body goes into from all the dead cell products in your blood (which - overly simplified - causes a cytokine storm -> leaky capillaries -> fluid balance problems -> end organ failure -> death).

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  • $\begingroup$ So the Ebola virus replicates too fast for the immune system to handle? $\endgroup$ – TanMath Dec 7 '14 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't quite put it that way. I'd say, rather, that in many cases, the host dies of the damage done by the virus before an immune response adequate to destroy the virus is mounted. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Dec 8 '14 at 0:45

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