What is the Ebola Virus?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by the Ebola virus. Symptoms typically start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, throat and muscle pains, and headaches. There is then typically nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. At this point, some people begin to have problems with bleeding.
The disease can be acquired when a person comes into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal such as a monkey or fruit bat.
Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the virus without being affected by it. Once infection of a human occurs, the disease may be spread from one person to another.
Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via their semen for nearly two months.
To make the diagnosis, typically other diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, cholera and other viral hemorrhagic fever are first excluded.
The blood may then be tested for antibodies to the virus, or the viral RNA, or the virus itself, to confirm the diagnosis.