Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. The viruses that cause EVD are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. People can get EVD through direct contact with an animal with EVD (bat or nonhuman primate) or a sick or dead person with EVD.

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How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is spread through direct contact of the following items.

  • 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.

  • Not spread through the air or by food or water.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

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.

Is there a vaccine for Ebola and how is it treated?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV (tradename “Ervebo”) for the prevention of EVD. The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine has been found to be safe and protective against only the Zaire ebolavirus species of ebolavirus.

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.

How deadly is the Ebola virus?

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.