What causes Ebola?

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Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebolavirus species, four of which are known to cause disease in humans: Zaire virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); TaÏ Forest virus (TaÏ Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d'Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) but not in humans. It is believed that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir.  Ebola viruses are found in several African countries, with outbreaks occurring sporadically since the virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark "CDC" is licensed under authority of the PHS.

The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.
Ebola fever is caused by a family of 5 closely related viruses. Experts believe that outbreaks of the illness begin when people come into contact with infected animals. Ebola then spreads from person to person through blood, organs or bodily fluids of infected people, or via surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. To get the infection, a person must come into direct contact with the virus--that is, the virus must touch the person's broken skin or mucous membranes.

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Ebola

Ebola

Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It is caused by a family of viruses that originate in central and west Africa. The disease is rare and occurs in sporadic outbreaks. Ebola is spread through direct co...

ntact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals or objects, such as needles or bedsheets, that have been contaminated with the virus. Your risk of contracting Ebola is very low unless you visit an area where it is widespread. There are no approved treatments for the disease, but some experimental treatments have shown promise. Vaccines are currently under development.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.