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Ebola - Information for Clinicians

In March 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was recognized in Guinea, in West Africa. This outbreak spread to multiple countries, but the focus of the outbreak involved the three West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. This has been the largest EVD outbreak ever recorded since Ebola was first discovered in 1976 with more than 28,000 people infected including more than 11,000 deaths. There were also several cases in the United States related to travelers returning from affected countries. The outbreak was declared over on January 14, 2016.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or secretions of someone who is ill and exhibiting symptoms or by exposure to objects such as needles that have been infected with contaminated secretions. It is not spread through the air or by food or water.

Ebola Outbreak in Africa

The symptoms of Ebola typically include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and stomach pain. Some patients develop a rash, red eyes, hiccups, a cough, sore throat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and bleeding inside and outside of the body. From the time someone is exposed to the disease until they develop symptoms is generally 8–10 days but it can be as little as 2 and as many as 21 days. The death rate varies depending on many factors, including the medical care received, how soon care is received, the patient's immune system, and the type of Ebola the person contracts.

There is no cure and no vaccine for EVD. Standard treatment of Ebola includes balancing the patient's fluids and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections. Further information for clinicians is available.

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