Ebola Virus Disease

Cause: Ebola virus

Illness and treatment: Maximum incubation period is 21 days. Illness begins with abrupt onset of fever, headache, and muscle aches progressing after about five days to watery diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Later signs can include internal and external bleeding, and multi-organ failure; 60-90% of cases are fatal. Treatment is supportive.

Sources: Ebola virus disease occurs in parts of Africa. Initial transmission from an unknown mammalian reservoir can be followed by person-to-person transmission through direct contact with body fluids or excreta (blood, urine, diarrhea, vomit, sweat, semen, milk) including percutaneous injection, mucous membrane contamination, or contact with corpses. Viremia occurs with onset of symptoms, peaking around day 10.

Prevention: Strict adherence to infection control measures is essential when treating patients potentially infected with Ebola virus disease.

Recent Washington trends: No cases have occurred in the state.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To identify cases of Ebola virus disease associated with travel
  • To prevent further spread of the disease within the United States

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: immediately notifiable to local health jurisdiction
  • Health care facilities: immediately notifiable to local health jurisdiction
  • Laboratories: detection of Ebola virus immediately notifiable to local health jurisdiction of the patient's residence; specimen submission is required – serum (2 business days)
  • Local health jurisdictions: suspected and confirmed cases are immediately notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE) (1-877-539-4344)

Ebola virus disease is reportable as a Rare Disease of Public Health Significance.