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Also known as: Ebola virus disease (EVD), Ebola haemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF)

Classification: Virus

Industry of interest: Healthcare


Microbiology: Ebola is an enveloped RNA virus from the Filoviridae family (Lee and Henderson 2001; Ftika and Maltezou 2013). It is classified as Biosafety Level / Containment Level 4, meaning that it should only be handled in high-containment laboratories.  


Habitat and transmission: Ebola virus disease (EVD) was first reported near the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, which is where the virus gets its name from. Ebola enters the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals . Human to human transmission occurs through either direct contact with blood or body fluids (through broken skin or mucous membranes) or indirect contact with contaminated environments (Lee and Henderson 2001; Bausch, Towner et al. 2007; Ftika and Maltezou 2013).

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Disease and symptoms: EVD is a viral haemorragic fever (VHF), which is characterised sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat (Clark, Jahrling et al. 2012). This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes internal and external bleeding. The incubation period is 2-21 days.

Treatment: There is no effective drug to treat Ebola. Therefore, management of infected patients relies on supportive care, including rehydration (Clark, Jahrling et al. 2012).


Bausch, D. G., J. S. Towner, et al. (2007). "Assessment of the risk of Ebola virus transmission from bodily fluids and fomites." J Infect Dis 196 Suppl 2: S142-147.
Clark, D. V., P. B. Jahrling, et al. (2012). "Clinical management of filovirus-infected patients." Viruses 4(9): 1668-1686.
Ftika, L. and H. C. Maltezou (2013). "Viral haemorrhagic fevers in healthcare settings." J Hosp Infect 83(3): 185-192.
Lee, L. M. and D. K. Henderson (2001). "Emerging viral infections." Curr Opin Infect Dis 14(4): 467-480.

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