Although Ebola can be scary, there is no need to panic. Below are common questions and answers about Ebola. The CDC also provides information on how to minimize your risk. If your child has questions about Ebola and you are not sure how to answer them, this fact sheet on how to discuss Ebola with children can help. 

What is Ebola?
Ebola is an infectious and often fatal disease that is characterized by fever and severe internal bleeding.

What are Ebola’s symptoms?
Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the Ebola virus, but 8-10 days is most common. Know the difference between the flu and Ebola.

Who is at risk for Ebola?
People who may come in direct contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients, such as:

What should I do if I think I have Ebola?
If you meet the risk criteria outlined above and have symptoms consistent with Ebola, call your doctor to determine if you should go to a hospital for testing.

How is Ebola spread?
Ebola is spread through direct contact with:

  • Bodily fluids (blood, vomit, sweat, feces, urine, saliva or other fluids) of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
  • Objects contaminated with the virus such as medical equipment and needles.
  • It is believed that the first patient in an outbreak becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys). Experts do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.

Direct contact means the infected fluids, object or animal comes into contact with an uninfected person’s eyes, nose, mouth or open cut on the body. Ebola is NOT spread through the air, food or water. See why the CDC believes that ebola is not likely to become airborne. Ebola can also only be spread after symptoms begin. 

How is Ebola treated?
Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) are treated as they appear. When used early, basic interventions can significantly improve the chances of survival. 

What’s happening with Ebola Now?
The CDC posts the latest information on current outbreaks of Ebola on its website. You can also find historical information about past Ebola outbreaks, including the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, on the CDC outbreak webpage as well.

Additional Resources