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Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a serious illness that was first discovered in a remote part of Central Africa in 1976. Symptoms of Ebola include fever, tiredness, muscle aches, severe headache, red eyes, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Fever is usually the first symptom of Ebola. Ebola can also cause kidney and liver problems. When the disease progresses, there may be a rash and bleeding from inside and outside the body. Ebola can cause death but early medical care increases the chances of survival.
Symptoms start between two and 21 days after infection.
Ebola infections and outbreaks have occurred from time to time in areas surrounding rain forests in Central and Western Africa. While the natural reservoir of EVD is unknown, some bat species are suspected to carry the virus.
Ebola is not easy to spread. Ebola can spread by contact with body fluids, primarily blood, vomit and feces of infected people; some animals (bats, monkeys and apes in Central or West Africa); or medical equipment that was in contact with infected body fluids, like needles.
Ebola is not spread through the air, by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread by handling bushmeat (African wild animals hunted for food).
You can’t get Ebola from people who have no symptoms, even if they were recently in an affected country.
Just because someone who has recently been to an affected country is sick, it doesn’t mean they have Ebola.
Ebola is diagnosed by a blood test. Because the National Microbiology Lab is in Winnipeg, lab results are available quickly.People can recover from Ebola when they receive proper and timely medical care for their symptoms. Scientists are working on developing a vaccine and treatment options for Ebola.
EVD prevention measures include: practicing appropriate hand hygiene, avoiding direct contact with a person or corpse infected with the Ebola virus and avoiding non-essential travel to regions affected by ongoing EVD outbreaks.
Current Risk Status
Updated: December 22, 2015
The ‘current risk status’ is updated using the information provided by the World Health Organization’s Ebola Response Roadmaps (situation reports). Archived and current situational reports can be found on the WHO’s Ebola website www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/situation-reports/en/.
The current outbreak is ongoing in the West African country of Guinea. Travel to this country may put a person at risk. Risk from travel to any other country is very low unless the individual has been in contact with a person with Ebola.
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