Corporate Authors:National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.). Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology.
Description:Transmission -- Signs and symptoms -- Risk of exposure -- Diagnosis -- Treatment -- Prevention.
Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebolavirus species, four of which have caused disease in humans: Zaire ebolavirus; Sudan ebolavirus; Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus; and Bundibugyo ebolavirus. The fifth, Reston ebolavirus, has caused disease in nonhuman primates but not in humans.
Ebola is found in several African countries. The first Ebola species was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.
The natural reservoir host of Ebola remains unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne with bats being the most likely reservoir. Four of the five subtypes occur in an animal host native to Africa.
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