Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50-90% of all clinically ill cases. The disease has its origins in the jungles of Africa and Asia. Several different forms of Ebola virus have been identified and may be associated with other clinical expressions, on which further research is required.


Incubation: 2 to 21 days

Symptoms: Ebola is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions, and both internal and external bleeding.

Diagnosis: Commercially unavailable specialized laboratory tests on blood specimens detect specific antigens and/or genes of the virus, isolate the virus in cell culture or detect IgM and IgG antibodies. These tests present an extreme biohazard and are only conducted under maximum biological containment conditions.




History and Prevalence

The Ebola virus was first identified in a western equatorial province of Sudan and in a nearby region of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976 after significant epidemics in Yambuku, northern Zaire, and Nzara, southern Sudan.

Excluding the most recent outbreak, nearly 1100 cases with over 800 deaths have been documented since the virus was discovered.

Natural Reservoir