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Healthy Tips

Quick Dose: What Is Ebola?

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare and often deadly disease caused by the Ebola virus. You should only worry about it if you’re traveling somewhere with a current EVD outbreak.

Who Is Affected

The Ebola virus is endemic to West Africa, but 11 people in the U.S. contracted EVD during an epidemic spanning 2014 to 2016. Most of those infected were healthcare workers returning to the U.S. from areas with EVD outbreaks.

Symptoms of EVD

Initial symptoms develop roughly one week after infection, and are similar to influenza or malaria: body aches, chills and fever. Development of gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, is common. Hemorrhagic complications — uncontrollable bleeding in stool, the skin, and through the nose and other orifices — are typical in patients with EVD.

Treatment for EVD

There’s currently no licensed antiviral medication to treat EVD in humans. When deployed early, basic medical interventions such as fluids, breathing treatments and blood transfusions can successfully treat symptoms.

How to Prevent EVD

EVD is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids. EVD originates outside the U.S., so it’s recommended that you postpone or cancel travel to areas with active EVD outbreaks. If travel is necessary, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for EVD outbreak updates, wear proper personal protective equipment and seek immediate medical care if you or someone close to you has EVD symptoms

Infectious Disease Center Chicago

Michael P. Angarone, DO
Michael P. Angarone, DO
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Assistant Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Primary Specialty Infectious Disease
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