Medical Definition of Ebola virus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/31/2018

Ebola Virus: A notoriously deadly virus that causes severe symptoms, the most prominent being high fever and massive internal bleedingEbola virus kills as many as 90% of the people it infects. It is one of the viruses that is capable of causing hemorrhagic (bloody) fever. Epidemics of Ebola virus have occurred mainly in African countries including Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Gabon, Uganda, the Ivory Coast, and Sudan. Ebola virus is a hazard to laboratory workers and anyone who is exposed to it. Ebola virus is transmitted by contact with blood, feces, or body fluids from an infected person or by direct contact with the virus, as in a laboratory. The incubation period --the period between contact with the virus and the appearance of symptoms -- ranges from 2 to 21 days. The initial symptoms are usually high fever, headache, muscle aches, stomach pain, and diarrhea. There may also be sore throathiccups, and red and itchy eyes. The symptoms that tend to follow include: vomitingrash, and bleeding problems that include bloody nose (epistaxis), spitting up blood from the lungs (hemoptysis).

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Reviewed on 12/31/2018
References
CDC. Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States.