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Why is it so difficult to diagnose Ebola in its early stages?

Diagnosing Ebola in a person infected for only a few days is difficult because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola and are seen often in patients with more common diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever.

Ebola virus is detected in blood only after onset of symptoms, most notably fever, which accompany the rise in circulating virus within the patient’s body. It may take up to three days after symptoms start for the virus to reach detectable levels.

However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and there is reason to believe that Ebola should be considered, the patient should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection.

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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.