Ebola Virus Disease
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.
What is Ebola virus disease (EVD)?
EVD is a life-threatening disease caused by a virus. EVD was first diagnosed in West Africa. People from other countries have also been diagnosed with EVD.
How is EVD spread?
A person with EVD must have symptoms to be contagious (able to spread the virus). EVD is not spread through air, water, or food. The virus spreads through a break in your skin or mucus membranes in your eyes, nose, or mouth. You may get the virus through direct contact with any of the following:
- A sick person's blood or body fluids, such as urine, saliva, sweat, bowel movement, vomit, semen, or breast milk
- Items that have been contaminated with the virus, such as clothes, linens, needles, and syringes
What are the symptoms of EVD?
Symptoms may appear 2 to 21 days after you are exposed to someone who has symptoms of EVD. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have been in contact with someone who has EVD and you have the following:
- A sudden fever higher than 100.4°F along with any of the following:
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding or bruising that cannot be explained
How do I protect myself against EVD?
- Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use soap and water. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers, for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water. Dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Teach children how to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.
- Do not touch blood or body fluids of people who are sick. Do not handle items that may have touched a sick person's blood or body fluids. Fluids include urine, bowel movements, saliva, vomit, semen, and sweat. Items include clothes, linens, needs, or syringes.
- Practice safe sex. Always use a latex condom. An infected man's semen will need to be tested for the Ebola virus. He must have 2 negative tests before he can have sex without a condom. Handle used condoms carefully so the semen does not touch anyone. Throw the used condom away. Make sure no one will accidentally touch it after it is in the trash.
The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.
Is there an EVD vaccine?
An Ebola vaccine has been approved by the FDA. The vaccine is given as a shot in your shoulder one time. You may need the vaccine if you are an adult at high risk for exposure to EVD. You may be at high risk if:
- You are planning to travel to an area where Ebola is active.
- You are responding to an outbreak of EVD.
- You work as healthcare provider at an EVD treatment center.
- You work in a laboratory with the Ebola virus.
Contact your doctor or local health department if:
You have been in contact with someone who has EVD. You may need to be placed in quarantine.
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