Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is one of many viral hemorrhagic fevers, which are reportable diseases in Oklahoma. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in Sudan and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River in Africa. EVD is a severe, often deadly disease in humans and primates like monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees.
In September of 2022, there was a confirmed outbreak of the Sudan ebolavirus strain in western Uganda. Outbreaks have been reported in 5 districts (Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kassanda, Kagadi, Bunyangabu). It is unknown exactly how Ebola virus was first spread to humans butscientists theorize that different types of monkeys and bats may transmit the virus to humans.
When a human does get Ebola virus there are several ways in which the virus can be spread to others.
- Contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person
- Contact with objects such as bedding or clothes that have body fluids from an infected person
- Contact with infected animals
- Semen from a person who has recovered from EVD. The virus can remain in semen of a patient of has recovered even if they no longer have symptoms. There is no evidence that EVD can spread through vaginal fluids.
Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure . Early symptoms can include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
Even though people in the U.S. have had Ebola, the general population is not at risk. Only people with direct contact with someone who has Ebola, or with that person’s contaminated surroundings, may be at risk. Household members, family and healthcare providers who are in close contact with someone with Ebola must take steps to protect themselves from contact with blood or bodily fluids. A person can only spread Ebola to other people after they show signs and symptoms.
Check the CDC traveler’s health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel for warnings and advisories prior to travel to learn what is currently occurring in the area you plan to visit.
Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of ill people. Do not handle items that may have touched another person’s blood or body fluids.
Avoid funeral or burial rituals that involve handling the body of someone who has died from EVD.
Avoid contact with animals or with raw meat.
Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities that are suitable for your needs.
Register your trip with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
People who have traveled to a country where Ebola is being spread should seek medical care immediately if they develop fever, headache, achiness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash or red eyes within 21 days of traveling. Call your provider ahead of time to let them know of your symptoms and travel history to a place where Ebola is being spread.