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:
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:
- 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:
- fruit bats
- forest antelope
If you are a healthcare worker
Practise strict infection control measures, including isolating infected individuals and using personal protective equipment properly, including:
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
- dental care
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:
- 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