The Ebola Virus

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Disease name

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF)

Four identified subtypes of Ebola: (4)

· Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast (cause disease in humans)

· Ebola-Reston (cause disease in non-human primates only)

Means of Transmission

Person-to-person transmission

Direct contact of blood, secretions, semen, vomit, diarrhea (1) or organs of infected person

Sexually transmitted - “Transmission through semen may occur up to 7 weeks after clinical recovery, as with Marburg haemorrhagic fever.” (2)

Direct contact of deceased body at burial ceremonies (3)

Indirect Contact: touching contaminated objects such as needles

Aerosol transmission:

“Not implicated in human outbreaks, although transmission in airborne particles has been documented under research conditions, and in the spread of Ebola-Reston.” (4)

Nosocomial Transmission (transmission within a hospital setting):

Problem in health-care settings where sterilization and barrier nursing procedures are not consistently practiced. (5)

In African health-care facilities, patients are often cared for without the use of a mask, gown, or gloves. (4)

“When needles or syringes are used, they may not be of the disposable type, or may not have been sterilized, but only rinsed before reinsertion into multi-use vials of medicine. If needles or syringes become contaminated with virus and are then reused, numerous people can become infected.” (4)

Contact with Diseased Animal (4)

“The infection of human cases with Ebola virus has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest antelopes--both dead and alive--as was documented in Côte d'Ivoire, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. The transmission of the Ebola Reston str...

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..., accessed on 12/5/05.

Anon. “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever: CDC Special Pathogens Branch.” Updated Nov. 18, 2005. URL:, accessed on 12/5/05.

Anon. “Virology Web Poster Project: Ebola.” Fall 2004. URL:, accessed on 12/5/05.

Anon. “Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Ebola hemorrhagic fever.” Updated Feb. 2, 2004. URL:, accessed on 12/5/05.

Waterman, Tara. “Tara’s Ebola Site: Honors Thesis: Stanford University.” Updated March 1, 1999. URL:, accessed on 12/9/05.

Anon. “Ebola Research Paper: The Ebola Virus.” URL:, accessed on 12/9/05.
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