What to Know About Ebola

Published on: 03/25/2015
What to know about Ebola
Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Ebola 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 (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees).

The CDC has issued travel warnings for U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to West African countries including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. For travel notices and other information regarding travel, visit the Travelers’ Health Ebola web page.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose or mouth with:
  • Touching the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
  • Touching contaminated objects, like needles
  • Touching infected animals, their blood or other body fluids or their meat.
  • Objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus

How Can You and Your Family Protect Yourselves?

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.
  • 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 hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.


What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of Ebola include:
  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • 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.

If you suspect or have symptoms of the virus, please contact your local emergency department.

For more information about Ebola, please visit www.cdc.gov/ebola

© 2021 Nicklaus Children's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.