Definition

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe viral disease. It is often fatal. It can occur in humans and animals.

Causes

It is caused by the Ebola virus. Humans can get the virus through contact with infected animals, humans, or needles.

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Risk Factors

The following factors increase your chances of developing Ebola hemorrhagic fever:

  • Travel to an area where an outbreak has occurred (almost all cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever have occurred in Africa; no cases have ever been reported in the US)
  • Exposure to healthcare settings in which a person with Ebola hemorrhagic fever has been treated
  • Contact with another person who has Ebola hemorrhagic fever

Symptoms

If you experience any of these do not assume it is due to Ebola. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. Symptoms of Ebola may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Internal and external bleeding

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you may have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms and to the virus, your doctor will notify health officials. This will include the local health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You will be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests to identify the virus
  • Blood tests to identify antibodies for the virus

Treatment

There is no cure. Your treatment will include therapy for symptoms you are experiencing. This may include:

  • IV fluids and electrolytes
  • Oxygen and blood pressure support
  • Treatment for any complicating infections

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of getting Ebola hemorrhagic fever, take the following steps:

  • Avoid traveling to an area that is experiencing an outbreak.
  • If you are a healthcare worker, wear protective clothing. This includes masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. Avoid reusing needles.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.