Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola HF)
- What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
- Where is Ebola virus found in nature?
- Where do cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occur?
- How is Ebola virus transmitted?
- What are Ebola hemorrhagic fever symptoms and signs?
- How is Ebola hemorrhagic fever clinically diagnosed?
- What laboratory tests are used to diagnose Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
- What is the treatment for Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
- How is Ebola hemorrhagic fever prevented?
- What challenges remain for the control and prevention of Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
Electron micrograph of Ebola virus Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) that has appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976.
The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in Africa, where it was first recognized. The virus is one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called the Filoviridae. There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.
Where is Ebola virus found in nature?
The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the "natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne), with 4 of the 5 subtypes occurring in an animal host native to Africa. A similar host, most likely in the Philippines, is probably associated with the Ebola-Reston subtype, which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.
Where do cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occur?
Confirmed cases of Ebola HF have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo. No case of the disease in humans has ever been reported in the United States. Ebola-Reston virus caused severe illness and death in monkeys imported to research facilities in the United States and Italy from the Philippines; during these outbreaks, several research workers became infected with the virus, but did not become ill.
Ebola HF typically appears in sporadic outbreaks, usually spread within a health-care setting (a situation known as amplification). It is likely that sporadic, isolated cases occur as well, but go unrecognized. A table showing a chronological list of known cases and outbreaks is available.
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