Where is Ebola virus found?
Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since then, there have been multiple outbreaks of Ebola virus spreading among people in certain parts of Africa.
How does Ebola virus spread?
Ebola virus can spread from animal to animal, animal
to human, and human to human. The natural source or reservoir of Ebola virus is
unknown, but it is believed that bats carrying the virus are able to transmit
it to certain animals and humans. One
way that humans may become infected with Ebola virus is while hunting or
preparing meat from infected animals in areas where Ebola is known to occur. For more information on Ebola transmission, see the CDC Ebola Virus Ecology and Transmission Graphic.
How do people get Ebola virus disease?
People can get Ebola virus disease from contact with infected animals (specifically bats and non-human primates) and from direct contact with other people who are sick with Ebola. Ebola virus can easily spread from an infected person to their close contacts. This includes:
Ebola virus can enter a person's body by direct contact through broken skin or through mucous membranes (such as in the eyes, nose, or mouth) in the following ways:
By touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola (body fluids include: urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen)
By touching objects (such as needles and syringes) contaminated with blood or body fluids from a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola
By having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a man who has recently recovered from Ebola
By direct contact with infected fruit bats or non-human primates (including apes, monkeys, and gorillas)
While hunting or preparing (cutting or cleaning) meat from animals that are infected with Ebola virus
Ebola virus can only spread from a person who actively has signs and symptoms of Ebola virus disease (EVD). A person cannot get Ebola virus from someone who does not have symptoms of EVD, except through sex with a man who has recently recovered from having EVD.