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Electron microscope picture of the Ebola virus

Ebola, pronounced E- Bo-la, is a hemorrhagic fever virus. (Hemorrhagic means "very heavy bleeding".) It is a deadly disease. Out of every 10 people who get Ebola, on average five to nine die. People who get infected with Ebola virus get the disease Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The virus was first identified in Sudan.

How people get Ebola[change | change source]

In people, transmission (giving the virus to someone) happens when someone comes in contact with fluids from someone who has been infected with the virus. Ebola cannot be caught through the air. People with Ebola hemorrhagic (bleeding) fever bleed a lot. They have blood in their diarrhea and vomit. They bleed from their noses, mouths, and genitals. These liquids are very infectious (they can make other people get the virus.)

Symptoms of Ebola[change | change source]

When people get Ebola the first symptoms look like some other diseases. People get a fever, feel very tired, have headaches (pain in the head), pain in the stomach, pain in their joints, and pain in the throat. Sometimes people think they have other diseases like malaria or typhoid fever.

Later, people get much sicker. They have very bad bleeding. They get shock: low blood pressure, fast pulse (heart rate), and low blood circulation to the body. This causes their organs to get very sick. The organs stop working. This is called organ failure. Ebola also causes stiffness throughout the body which leaves victims bedridden. Even if they make it to a hospital, most die.

Treatment of Ebola[change | change source]

Because Ebola is caused by a virus, there is no cure. But if people get care from doctors and nurses, more of them live. People with ebola need a lot of fluids to replace fluids lost from diarrhea, vomiting, and blood loss. Supportive care could be replacing fluids, blood, and giving medicines to the infected to treat their blood pressure and blood circulation.

When people get Ebola, it is called an outbreak. If doctors see that an outbreak is happening, they try to stop it. They stop it by isolating people infected with the disease, or placing them in quarantine. This means keeping the blood and fluids from people with Ebola from touching other people. Then other people do not get the virus.

When an outbreak happens, many people come to try and help stop it. The World Health Organization is the most important group that tries to stop Ebola outbreaks.

Scientists are trying to find a vaccine for Ebola.