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Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in several African countries.

Risk of Exposure
The ongoing 2014-15 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening. Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and those in close contact with Ebola patients are at highest risk of getting sick, as they may come into contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. The virus is spread to humans when there is direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:

  • blood or body fluids
  • objects that have been contaminated with the virus (e.g., needles)
  • infected animals

What are the symptoms?
It can take anywhere from two to 21 days after infection for symptoms to appear but the average length of time is 8-10 days. Symptoms include fever (greater than 101.5°F), severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.



World Health Organization (WHO)

Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Ebola Information for Nurses

American Nurses Association (ANA)

Ebola Outbreak 2014-2015: Information Resources

US Department of Health & Human Services: Disaster Information Management Research Center

Ebola Outbreak Information

New England Journal of Medicine

Fact Sheet

World Health Organization (WHO)

Infection Control

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Infection prevention and control recommendations for hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the US

Information for Healthcare Workers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Interim Guidance for Specimen Collection, Transport, Testing, and Submission for Persons Under Investigation for Ebola Virus Disease in the United States

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Video on Developing a Candidate Ebola Vaccine

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)