Ebola Virus Disease is caused by the Ebola virus and is one of a number of hemorrhagic fever diseases. Ebola causes severe illness in which 50-90 percent of those infected die. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River.
Ebola symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, or from objects contaminated with the virus (needles, medical equipment). Ebola is not spread through casual contact, air, water or food grown or legally purchased in the U.S. Ebola can only be spread to others after symptoms begin.
Health care providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with an ill person are at highest risk because they may come into contact with blood or body fluids.