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Causes of Ebola virus disease

What causes Ebola?

Ebola is caused by a virus.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola can be spread through contact with:

  • blood, body fluids or tissue from an infected person

  • medical equipment contaminated with infected body fluids, such as needles

Ebola can spread in health care settings if staff do not wear proper protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves.

Ebola is also believed to be spread through contact with infected animals, including:

  • bats

  • gorillas

  • monkeys

Prevention of Ebola virus disease

How can Ebola be prevented?

There is currently no licensed vaccine or treatment for Ebola. If you are in a region where an Ebola outbreak has occurred, take the following precautions.

Contact with infected people

Avoid direct contact with the bodily fluids of people with Ebola or unknown illnesses, including:

  • urine

  • blood

  • saliva

  • vomit

  • semen

  • breast milk

  • vaginal fluid

You should also avoid direct contact with:

  • bodies of people who have died of Ebola or unknown illnesses

  • medical equipment (like needles) contaminated with blood or bodily fluids

Contact with wild animals

Avoid both live and dead wild animals because they could be potential carriers of Ebola, including:

  • gorillas

  • monkeys

  • fruit bats

  • porcupines

  • chimpanzees

  • forest antelope

If you are a healthcare worker

Practice strict infection control measures, including isolating infected individuals and using personal protective equipment properly, including:

  • gowns

  • masks

  • gloves

  • goggles

If you are a returning traveller

If you are sick after you return to Canada or if you were sick while you were away, see a health provider and tell them the countries you visited, and if you received any medical care, such as:

  • blood transfusions injections

  • dental care

  • surgery

Describe your symptoms to the health care provider before you make the appointment. Some illnesses are highly contagious, so he/she might arrange to see you without exposing others.

Symptoms of Ebola virus disease

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

Symptoms of Ebola include:

  • rash

  • fever

  • headache

  • sore throat

  • muscle pain and weakness

  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

  • hemorrhaging (bleeding from inside and outside the body)

Symptoms can begin 2 to 21 days after exposure.

What do you do if you become ill?

Call a health care provider immediately if you have or if anyone in your household has:

  • any of the listed symptoms

  • recently traveled to an area where there is a confirmed Ebola outbreak

Describe your symptoms over the phone before your appointment so the clinic can arrange to see you without exposing others. Tell your health care provider which countries you visited or lived in.

Note: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Source of Information: Government of Canada |


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