Ebola Virus Disease

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        Bloodborne Pathogen                  

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

The abstract information on this page taken directly from CDC data

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), previously known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF), is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains.  Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates.

Signs & Symptoms of Ebola Disease

Signs and Symptoms of Ebola Include


     Severe headache

     Muscle Pain





     Abdominal (stomach) pain

     Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient's immune response.  People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

Long Term Effects of Ebola Disease

Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.

Ebola virus has been found in semen of men who have recovered from Ebola infection.

Transmission of Ebola Disease

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown.  However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event.  Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected people.  In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates.

When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:

     blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola,

     objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with body fluids from a person who is sick with Ebola or the body of a person who has died from Ebola,

     infected fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys), and

     possibly from contact with semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex).

In Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.  

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids.

During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital).  

Without adequate sterilization of instruments, virus transmission can continue and amplify an outbreak.

Ebola virus has been found in the semen of some men who have recovered from Ebola infections.  It is possible that Ebola could be transmitted through sex.  Until more information is know, avoid contact with semen from a male surviror.  If male survivors have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal sex), a condom should be used correctly and consistently every time.

CDC and other public health partners are continuing to study Ebola transmission and will share what is known as it becomes available.

High Risk  for Ebola Disease Includes any of the following

Percutaneous (e.g., needle stick) or mucous membrane exposure to blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, sweat, urine, vomit, and semen) from a person with Ebola while the person was symptomatic.

Direct contact without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) with a person with Ebola while the person was symptomatic or the person's body fluids.

Laboratory processing of blood or body fluids from a person with Ebola while the person was symptomatic without appropriate PPE or standard biosafety precautions.

Direct contact with a dead body without appropriate PPE in a country with widespread transmission or a country with cases in urban settings with uncertain control measures.

Having provided direct care in a household setting to a person with Ebola while the person was symptomatic.

For more infomation about Ebola high, moderate, and low risk careers, tasks and activities, please visit www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.

Prevention of Ebola Disease

If you travel to or are in an area affected by an Ebola outbreak, make sure to do the following:

Practice careful hygiene.  For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids (such as urine, feces, saliva, sweat, urine, vomit, breast milk, semen, and vaginal fluids).

Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).

Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.

Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.

Avoid facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated.  The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.

Do not have contact with the semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, avoid having oral, vaginald or anal sex).

After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediatley if you develop symptoms of Ebola.

Healthcare workers who may be exposed to people with Ebola Disease should follow these steps:

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures.  For more information, see U.S. Healthcare Workers and Settings (cdc.gov website).

Isolate patients with Ebola from other patients.

Avoid direct, unprotected contact with the bodies of people who have died from Ebola.

Notify health officials if you have had direct contact with the blood or body fluids, such as but not limited to, feces, saliva, urine, vomit, and semen of a person who is sick with Ebola.  The virus can enter the body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Vaccine for Ebola Disease

There is no vaccine for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Treatment and Medical Management of Ebola Disease

No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) is available for Ebola.

Symptoms of Ebola and complications are treated as they appear.  The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:

     Providing intravenous fluids (IV and balancing electrolytes (body salts).

     Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure.

     Treating other infections if they occur.

Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they hgave not been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive care and the patient's immune response.

For more information on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

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