Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus species. Ebola can cause disease in humans and non-human primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The natural reservoir host of Ebola virus remains unknown.
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. However, the most important factor to consider is not really a symptom, but, rather, travel history. Those most at risk have resided in or traveled to a country with widespread Ebola transmission in the 21 days before illness onset.
When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread 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 Ebola
- objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
- infected animals
- Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.
There is no FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.