Share this page

Health Library

Ebola Virus Disease

Pronounced: ee-BOWL-uh Vi-russ Dizz-ez

Definition

Ebola virus disease is a severe infection. The infection can occur in humans and animals.

Causes

Ebola virus disease is caused by the Ebola virus. The virus can pass from person to person through blood or other bodily fluids. When these fluids come in contact with skin or mucus membranes, the virus can pass and cause the infection. The virus can also pass through contaminated needles.

Virus Attack on Cell

Virus

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Travel to areas with known Ebola outbreaks increases your risk of Ebola virus disease. Almost all cases have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

Your chance of Ebola virus disease also increases with:

  • Exposure to a healthcare setting that has treated a person with Ebola virus disease.
  • Contact with another person who has Ebola virus disease.
Symptoms

Symptoms of Ebola may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Internal and external bleeding
Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you may have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms, your doctor will notify health officials. This will include the local health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To confirm the presence of the virus, your doctor may order blood tests. These tests will help identify the virus itself and antibodies to the virus. Antibodies are signs that your body has identified and is fighting the virus.

Treatment

There is no cure. You will be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease.

Treatment is focused on supporting you while your body fights the infection. Treatment may include:

  • IV fluids and electrolytes
  • Oxygen and blood pressure support
  • Treatment for any complicating infections
Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting Ebola virus disease, take the following steps:

  • Avoid traveling to an area that is experiencing an outbreak.
  • If you are a health care worker, wear protective clothing and follow prevention protocols. This includes masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles.
  • Avoid reusing needles.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization
http://www.who.int

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References:

Ebola virus disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/. Updated June 8, 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.

Ebola virus disease. World Health Organization (WHO) website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/. Updated April 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.



Last reviewed June 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Baptist Flame

Baptist Health Systems

1-800-948-6262

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×