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02/06/24 Public Health Education Topic: Ebola

Per the CDC: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees). Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have occurred sporadically in Africa. The natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses remains unknown. However, based on the nature of similar viruses, experts think the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely reservoir.


How the virus first infects a person at the start of an outbreak is not known. However, experts think the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal such as a fruit bat or nonhuman primate. People can be infected with the Ebola virus through direct contact (like touching) with:

• Blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, semen) of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD

• Objects (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and syringes) contaminated with body fluids from a person sick with EVD or a body of a person who died from EVD

• Blood or body fluids of infected fruit bats or nonhuman primates such as apes and monkeys

• Semen from a man who recovered from EVD (through oral, vaginal, or anal sex)

Ebola virus CANNOT spread to others when a person has no signs or symptoms of EVD. Additionally, the virus is not spread through the air, by water, or in general, by food. However, in certain parts of the world, Ebola virus may spread through the handling and consumption of bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food). There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.

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