Ebola virus is the cause of a viral haemorrhagic fever. It is an often fatal disease that can infect both humans and non-human primates, such as chimpanzees. 

Find out more about what causes Ebola, the symptoms and what what steps are available to help prevent it spreading.


Ebola is the result of an infection by the Ebola virus. There are four known species that can cause harm to humans, all of which originate in Africa.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.


Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus, though 8-10 days is most common: Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Aching joints or muscles
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Abnormal bleeding

Prevention Tips

Ebola Prevention Tips

If you are in or travelling to an area affected by the Ebola outbreak, protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid contact with bodily fluids and blood from any person, especially people who are sick.
  • Do not touch items that may have come in contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.
  • Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch non-human primates or bats or their body fluids and blood. Also do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated unless you are suspecting Ebola.
  • If you develop fever (temperature of 38.6°C or 101.5°F) and any of the following symptoms (headache, muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding), seek medical care immediately.
  • Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?

No, Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air. 

Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?

No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness. It is not a water-borne illness.

Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?

No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is showing symptoms.