Ebola is a very rare disease. It is caused by a virus that is found naturally in countries in central and western Africa. The disease is serious. It can cause bleeding that can be life-threatening. Ebola is a very rare disease. It is caused by a virus that is found naturally in countries in central and western Africa. The disease is serious. It can cause bleeding that can be life-threatening. Ebola is a very rare disease. It is caused by a virus that is found naturally in countries in central and western Africa. The disease is serious. It can cause bleeding that can be life-threatening.
Where is Ebola?
The Ebola virus is found naturally in the rainforest areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Probably it is the bats that carry the virus without getting sick themselves. The virus occasionally causes disease outbreaks in other animals and humans.
So Ebola is infected
People get sick after contact with wild animals infected with Ebola.
Antelopes and monkeys are examples of wild animals that can be infected when they receive for example saliva or feces from the bats.
When people handle, cook and eat the meat of the infected animals, they can get the virus and get sick.
The virus is found in the body fluids of the sick person
The virus is found only in the body fluids of the sick person. Examples of body fluids are blood, saliva, sweat, and stools.
You need to get in touch with the body fluid to become infected yourself, for example through the eye, nose, mouth or some small sore on the skin. This can only happen if you are close to the sick person.
The virus is also found on sheets and clothes, for example, if there are body fluids on them from the sick person.
An infected person becomes infected when they have symptoms. That person is too ill to be able to get anywhere.
Viruses can remain in, for example, seminal fluid or breast milk for a time in someone who has recovered from Ebola. It’s unclear how contagious that person is.
Symptoms of ebola
The symptoms of ebola come 2 to 21 days after the infection. Anyone infected with Ebola virus quickly becomes very ill and may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- high fever
- pain in muscles and joints
- sore throat
- Red eyes.
Those who are ill can also have diarrhea, start vomiting and have a rash on the skin.
About half of those who become ill become very seriously ill because the walls of the blood vessels are damaged and it begins to bleed in the internal organs and for example through the nose, ears, gums, and eyes.
When and where should I seek care?
Call medical help instantly to get medical advice if you have been somewhere for the last 21 days where there is an ebola outbreak and suddenly get a fever over 38 degrees.
You will need care at an infection clinic that will know in advance that you are on the road if there is a risk that you have Ebola. You should not go to a health center or a hospital yourself because you can have a very contagious disease.
Treatment for ebola infection
Intensive care in hospitals helps the body cope with the disease. It increases the chance of survival.
There is no treatment for the disease itself. There is a vaccine that can limit outbreaks of the disease, but so far it is only used in certain circumstances.
How can I prevent Ebola?
Here is advice if you are in an area where there is a risk of Ebola:
- Avoid meat, milk and other foods from wildlife. Avoid touching live or dead wildlife.
- Avoid contact with blood and other bodily fluids from a person suspected of being Ebola-sick or who has died from the disease. Also avoid, for example, sheets or clothes that the person may have been in contact with.
- Use a condom to avoid contact with semen if you have sex with a man who has recently had ebola.
- Avoid caves, mines and other environments in some places where there may be bats. They can carry the Ebola virus without getting sick themselves.