Ebola virus disease (EVD) is an infection caused by the Ebola virus. EVD usually starts with fever, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can quickly lead to severe illness, uncontrolled bleeding, and organ failure. EVD is a severe, often deadly illness that requires medical care.
The Ebola virus has been found in several countries in Africa. EVD may spread to other countries if people are infected and then travel when they are sick.
Animals and humans may get infected with the Ebola virus. Ebola is not spread through the air or in water. The virus is spread by direct contact with infected body fluids, such as:
A person cannot spread the virus until they have symptoms.
Your child is not at risk for catching the virus unless he or she comes in direct contact with someone who has EVD or eats the raw meat of an infected animal. The risk for getting EVD increases if your child travels to an area where the virus is present or cares for someone infected with the virus.
Symptoms can start 2 to 21 days after a child comes in contact with someone who is sick. Most people will have symptoms within 8 to 10 days. Symptoms may include:
EVD can become severe very quickly and cause:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your provider needs to know your child’s recent travel history and if your child has been around someone sick or infected with EVD.
If your child’s provider suspects EVD, your child will have tests, such as samples of fluid from his nose or throat, blood, urine, or bowel movements, to check for the virus or antibodies.
If your child may have EVD, the healthcare provider will report it to the public health department and your child may need to stay in the hospital. This can help prevent new infections.
There are no medicines proven to cure EVD. Vaccines and antiviral medicines to prevent or treat EVD are being developed and tested. Treatment can help control symptoms. If your child has EVD, he will need to stay in the hospital. This also helps prevent spreading the virus to other people. Treatment may include:
When a child is in the hospital, he will stay in a separate room and away from other people (isolation). The child will not be able to leave the room until healthcare providers say it’s OK. Everyone who cares for the child will need to follow strict rules, such as wearing gloves, gowns, eye protection and a mask or respirator when they care for your child. A respirator is a kind of mask that can protect people from breathing in tiny liquid droplets. The child may not be able to have visitors, or may have limited contact with them.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
There is no vaccine to prevent EVD right now. Vaccines are being developed and tested and may be available in the future. If possible, keep your child away from places where EVD is present. Get travel updates if your child plans to travel. To reduce the risk of getting EVD, your child should also:
If your child has been to an area where EVD is present or had close contact with someone who has EVD, he may have been exposed to the virus. You should:
If your child develops symptoms:
For more information, contact: