Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history. The following information about Ebola is courtesy of the CDC.
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebolavirus species, four of which have caused disease in humans: Zaire ebolavirus; Sudan ebolavirus; Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus; and Bundibugyo ebolavirus. The fifth, Reston ebolavirus, has caused disease in nonhuman primates but not in humans.
Ebola is found in several African countries. The first Ebola species was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.
The natural reservoir host of Ebola remains unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely reservoir. Four of the five subtypes occur in an animal host native to Africa.
When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways the virus can be spread to others. These include: direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola or contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of an infected person or with infected animals
The virus in the blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth.
During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread qu