Ebola Disease, Risks, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a viral disease that can cause severe illness in humans and other primates. The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 when outbreaks occurred in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Ebola virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with infected animals, such as fruit bats, monkeys, or chimpanzees. It then spreads from person to person through direct contact with the blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected individuals. The virus can cause damage to blood vessels, impair blood clotting, and suppress the immune system, leading to various complications. 

Ebola is most commonly found in certain Central and Western regions of Africa, in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. These regions are considered endemic for Ebola, meaning that the virus is present in the local animal population and can periodically spill over into humans. 

Risk of Ebola

Ebola outbreaks primarily occur in regions of Africa where there may be limited healthcare infrastructure and resources. People who are in close contact with infected individuals, such as family members or healthcare workers, are at higher risk of contracting the virus. Additionally, handling or consuming bushmeat (wild animal meat) can also increase the risk of transmission. 

Prevention of Ebola

Preventing Ebola involves a combination of community and healthcare measures. These include:

  • Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about Ebola, its symptoms, and how it spreads can help people take necessary precautions.
  • Infection Control: Strict infection control measures in healthcare settings, including proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and gowns, can reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Hygiene Practices: Regular handwashing with soap and water, using hand sanitizers when soap is not available, and avoiding direct contact with bodily fluids can help prevent infection.
  • Avoiding Bushmeat: Refraining from hunting, handling, or consuming wild animals, especially those found dead or sick.

Treatment for Ebola

There are currently two treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat EVD caused by the Ebola virus, species Zaire ebolavirus, in adults and children. The first drug approved in October 2020, Inmazeb™, is a combination of three monoclonal antibodies. The second drug, Ebanga™, is a single monoclonal antibody and was approved in December 2020. antiviral treatment for Ebola.

However, supportive care is crucial to manage the symptoms and improve the chances of recovery. This includes maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance, treating any complications or infections, and providing appropriate medical care. Experimental treatments and vaccines are being developed and tested, but their availability is limited. 

Connect with your Rockdoc Travel Medicine Professional here to book a consultation to discuss your trip and obtain the prescription and vaccinations to travel with peace of mind. 

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Symptoms of Ebola

Ebola usually has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days before symptoms appear. The initial symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

As the disease progresses, individuals may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Impaired kidney and liver function
  • Internal and external bleeding

These symptoms can be severe and life-threatening.

Available travel vaccinations and medications

We offer the following travel vaccinations and medications:

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