Ebola 101: Resources for the Public

Ebola virus disease (EVD, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) causes an acute, serious illness that carries a fatality rate of around 50%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), EVD first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in Sudan, the other in Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 2,000km apart.

The current outbreak in West Africa began to be reported in March 2014 and is the largest and most complex outbreak since Ebola was first discovered. The species of Ebolavirus in this outbreak is Zaire; there are five species. Countries affected by the outbreak include Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and now Spain and the United States. (WHO has reported another outbreak in Boende, Equateur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is believed to be unrelated.) 

Ebola is transferred from animal hosts to human hosts through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of the host animal. It spreads from humans to humans through “direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

There is no proven treatment for EVD, nor are there any licensed vaccines although two are currently undergoing human safety testing. A number of documents, guidelines, and factsheets have been compiled to inform the general public on EVD, its transmission, treatment, and prevention & control. These resources are available in the HSDL, via the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Government Printing Office. Increasing awareness of risk factors for EVD infection and protection measures individuals can take contributes to a reduction in human transmission.


Again, resources on Ebolavirus are available in the HSDLvia the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Government Printing Office

Reduce risk by learning about EVD.

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