Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola Virus Disease)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Ebola Virus Pictures Slideshow

Quick GuideEbola Virus: Outbreak, Symptoms, and Treatment

Ebola Virus: Outbreak, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is the prognosis of Ebola hemorrhagic fever?

The prognosis of Ebola hemorrhagic fever is often poor; the death rate of this disease ranges from 50%-100%, and those who survive may experience the complications listed above. However, early diagnosis and treatment of Ebola may greatly increase the patient's chance for survival. Unfortunately, this disease has been mainly located in countries where medical care is often difficult to obtain, especially in rural areas of Africa. Current statistics available on the ongoing 2014-2015 outbreak (as of May 8, 2015) of Ebola are summarized below:

  • Total suspected, probable, and confirmed infections worldwide equal 26,683 and total deaths equal 11,022 for a death rate or death toll of 41%. However, new infections (at a low level) and deaths of current patients are likely to change these numbers as the epidemic slows.

Is it possible to prevent Ebola hemorrhagic fever? Is there a vaccine for Ebola hemorrhagic fever?

The main way to prevent getting Ebola hemorrhagic fever is to not travel to areas where it is endemic and by staying away from any patients who may have the disease. Medical caregivers may protect themselves from becoming affected by strict adherence to barriers to the virus (wearing gloves, gowns, goggles, and a mask). Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine against the Ebola virus strains that cause Ebola hemorrhagic fever in humans.

What is the latest research on Ebola hemorrhagic fever?

Research on developing a vaccine against Ebola viruses is ongoing; successful vaccines have been developed that work in experimental animals (mice and guinea pigs but not against macaques monkeys). With new and larger outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever possible, researchers are intensely working to develop an effective vaccine utilizing genetically modified viruses, recombinant viruses, and inactivated Ebola viruses. Unfortunately, none are currently available but at least two are entering clinical trials and other trials are ongoing. A vaccine and/or new treatments are likely to be available in the near future.

REFERENCES:

Energy and Commerce Committee. Update on the U.S. Public Health Response to the Ebola Outbreak. Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

Samb, Saliou. "Scale of Guinea's Ebola epidemic unprecedented: aid agency." Reuters. Mar. 31, 2014. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/31/us-guinea-ebola-idUSBREA2U10E20140331>.

Sullivan, Nancy, Zhi-Yong Yang, and Gary J. Nabel. "Ebola Virus Pathogenesis: Implications for Vaccines and Therapies." Journal of Virology 77.18 Sept. 2003. <http://jvi.asm.org/content/77/18/9733>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever." May 13, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever: Chronology of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreaks." Apr. 7, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/resources/outbreak-table.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals." Feb. 12, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/healthcare-us/hospitals/infection-control.html>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2015

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