What is Ebola Disease? The Ebola Outbreak!

What Is An Ebola Virus?

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. 

The first outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in a village near the Ebola River, which gave the virus its name. The second outbreak occurred in what is now South Sudan. Scientists later discovered that the two outbreaks were caused by two genetically distinct viruses: Zaire ebolavirus and Sudan ebolavirus.

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History And It’s Outbreak

The 2014–2016 out-break in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak and became a global epidemic within months. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Unfortunately, Ebola tends to reoccur. There is a new Ebola outbreak. The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced on June 1, 2020, that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease is occurring in Wangata health zone, of Équateur province.

  • Death Rate

The fatality rates of Ebola vary depending on the strain. For example, Ebola-Zaire can have a fatality rate of up to 90 percent while Ebola-Reston has never caused a fatality in humans. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%.

  • Ebola’s Transmission

It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead. Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact. Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This occurs through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.

  • Symptoms

The time interval from infection with Ebola to the onset of symptoms ranges from 2-21 days. Its symptoms include abrupt onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.


Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilization. Early supportive care with re hydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival.


There is no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development. Vaccines to protect against Ebola are under development and have been used to help control the spread of Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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