Ebola Facts

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a disease caused by Ebolavirus belongs to  Filoviridae virus family includes three genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus.
  • Compared to most illnesses, Ebola virus disease (EVD) has a relatively short history. Health care professionals discovered Ebola in 1976. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak. The current 2018-2019 outbreak in eastern DRC is highly complex, with insecurity adversely affecting public health response activities.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • Ebola viruses are mainly found in primates in Africa and the Philippines; there are only occasional Ebola outbreaks of infection in humans. Ebola virus disease (EVD) occurs mainly in Africa in the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Uganda, but it may occur in other African countries.
  • Ebola virus spreads by direct contact with blood and secretions, by contact with blood and secretions that remain on clothing, and by needles and/or syringes or other medical supplies used to treat Ebola-infected patients.
  • Risk factors for Ebola hemorrhagic fever are travel to areas with endemic Ebola hemorrhagic fever and/or any close association with infected people.
  • Early clinical diagnosis is difficult as the symptoms are nonspecific; however, if the patient is suspected to have Ebola, the patient needs to be isolated, and local and state health departments need to be immediately contacted.
  • Definitive diagnostic tests for Ebola virus disease (EVD) are ELISA and/or PCR tests; viral cultivation and biopsy samples may also be used.
  • There is no standard treatment for Ebola virus disease (EVD); only supportive therapy and experimental treatment is available.
  • There are many complications from Ebola virus disease (EVD), causing a high mortality rate (reported mortality rates range from 25%-100% with a reported average rate of 40%-50%).
  • Prevention of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is difficult; early testing and isolation of the patient plus barrier protection (protective equipment) for caregivers (mask, gown, goggles, and gloves) is very important to prevent other people from being infected.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks.
  • Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilisation.
  • Researchers are trying to understand the Ebola virus and pinpoint its ecological reservoirs to deduce how Ebola outbreaks occur.
  • Vaccines to protect against Ebola are under development and have been used to help control the spread of Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).


  • After an incubation period of 2 to 21 days, symptoms and signs of Ebola virus disease include
    • Abrupt fever,
    • Headache,
    • Joint pain,
    • Muscle aches,
    • Sore throat, and
    • Weakness.
  • Progression of Ebola symptoms includes
    • Diarrhea,
    • Vomiting,
    • Stomach pain,
    • Hiccups,
    • Rash, and
    • Internal and external bleeding.



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