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Ebola

Also called: Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by a virus. It is a severe and often fatal disease. It can affect humans and other primates. Researchers believe that the virus first spreads from an infected animal to a human. It can then spread from human to human through direct contact with a patient's blood or secretions.

Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms usually include

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite

Other symptoms including rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding, may also occur.

The early symptoms of Ebola are similar to other, more common, diseases. This makes it difficult to diagnose Ebola in someone who has been infected for only a few days. However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and there is reason to suspect Ebola, the patient should be isolated. It is also important to notify public health professionals. Lab tests can confirm whether the patient has Ebola.

There is no cure for Ebola. Treatment involves supportive care such as fluids, oxygen, and treatment of complications. Some people who get Ebola are able to recover, but many do not.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Ebola

The following features are indicative of Ebola:
  • fever
  • headache
  • joint and muscle aches
  • weakness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • lack of appetite
It is possible that Ebola shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Ebola

The following are the most common causes of Ebola:
  • ebola virus species

Risk Factors for Ebola

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Ebola:
  • contact with infected blood or body fluids

Prevention of Ebola

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Ebola. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • wear protective gear leaves no skin exposed
  • practice careful hygiene
  • avoid funeral or burial rituals of someone who has died from Ebola
  • avoid contact with blood, fluids and raw meat prepared from nonhuman primates and bats
  • avoid areas in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated
  • avoid contact with semen from a man who has Ebola

Occurrence of Ebola

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Ebola cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Ebola can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Ebola can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Ebola

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Ebola:
  • Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
  • Antigen-capture detection tests
  • Serum neutralization test
  • Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay
  • Electron microscopy
  • Virus isolation by cell culture

Doctor for Diagnosis of Ebola

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Ebola:
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Ebola if untreated

Yes, Ebola causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Ebola is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Self-care for Ebola

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Ebola:
  • Wash hands frequently: Helps prevent ebola infection
  • Avoid eating bush meat: Helps in preventing and spreading of infection
  • Avoid contact with infected people: Helps by providing protection against infection

Patient Support for Treatment of Ebola

The following actions may help Ebola patients:
  • Join support groups: Helps feel better

Time for Treatment of Ebola

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Ebola to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Ebola Infectious?

Yes, Ebola is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • direct contact with a patient's blood or secretions
  • contaminated needles and syringes
  • contact with semen from an infected man

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Ebola.

Related Topics

Hemorrhagic Fevers

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