Ebola Virus Disease and Marburg Virus Disease

For Healthcare Providers: 
 Ebola Virus Disease and Marburg Virus Disease

What are Ebola Virus Disease and Marburg Virus Disease?

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) are both rare but serious diseases known as viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs).

Although these are 2 different diseases caused by different viruses, the sickness they cause is similar. Because of this, the way that these diseases are handled by health care providers and public health is similar.

How are these diseases spread?

You can get EVD or MVD if the bodily fluids of someone who is sick with or has died from one of these diseases get into your eyes, nose, mouth, or damaged skin.

Bodily fluids are:

  • Blood
  • Saliva (spit)
  • Sweat
  • Urine (pee)
  • Feces (poop)
  • Vomit (throw up)
  • Breast milk
  • Amniotic fluid (the liquid around a growing baby inside the body)
  • Semen

The fluids can still cause disease even if they are dry.

Most of the disease spread is in households, health care settings, and during funerals. There is almost no risk to people who have not cared for or been in contact with someone who is sick with EVD or MVD.

What are symptoms of these diseases?

There is no symptom that happens only with these diseases. Feeling sick from EVD or MVD could include:

  • Fever
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Rash
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Vomiting (throw up)
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

What kinds of medicine or vaccines are available?

There is no vaccine that will prevent MVD and no medication to cure those who have it. There is a vaccine to prevent some types of EVD, but the vaccine is available only for health care workers who are likely to work with an EVD patient. There is also a medication to treat some types of EVD. People sick with EVD or MVD should still seek health care. Chances of survival are a lot better if medical care starts early.

What if I traveled to a country that had an outbreak of EVD or MVD?

Am I at risk?

There are only a few countries that have had outbreaks of EVD or MVD. However even if you travel to these countries, you are unlikely to get either disease unless you touch the bodily fluids of someone who is sick with or has died from either disease.

What can I do to prevent EVD or MVD?

Avoid contact with sick people and avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids from anybody. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Don’t touch dead bodies such as during any sort of funeral rites.

What do I do after travel?

If you have traveled to an area with an outbreak of EVD or MVD, watch yourself for symptoms (especially fever) for 21 days after leaving the country. If you do start to feel sick, avoid contact with other people and call your local health department. If you are seeking health care, tell them right away about your travel.

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DOH Pub 821-085 
This document was produced in cooperation with the
Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department.