Eb​ola Virus Disease

Background

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare disease that can cause severe, often fatal, illness in people.  Most cases and outbreaks of EVD are linked to the African continent.  In September 2022, an outbreak of Ebola was reported in Uganda in East Africa. 

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is working with partners to monitor the situation and provide information to residents and healthcare providers.  There are currently no cases of Ebola in Maryland and no cases have been reported outside of Uganda at this time. Visit the CDC Ebola Outbreaks website for more information. 

Signs and Symptoms of Ebola  

The primary signs and symptoms of Ebola can be similar to other, more common, infections, and can include some or several of the following: 

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains, such as severe headache and muscle and joint painLoss of appetite
  • Gastrointenstinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Unexplained hemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising 
Symptoms appear 2-21 days after exposure to the virus, but most commonly occur 8-10 days after exposure.

If you think you or your family member have symptoms of Ebola and have traveled to Uganda in the last 21 days, call your doctor before going to the office so staff can take measures to prevent possible spread to other patients.  Do not go to child care, school, work, or out in public if you have symptoms of Ebola. If you think you or a family member might have been exposed to Ebola, contact your healthcare provider.   

How Ebola Spreads


The Ebola virus enters the body through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from a previously infected individuals, objects contaminated with body fluids from someone who had EVD, infected animals (such as fruit bats or non-human primates), or semen from a man who recovered from EVD during sexual contact. The virus does not seem to be transmitted through food, though infection can occur through the handling and consumption of wild animal meat (bushmeat) or hunted wild animals infected with Ebola. There is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects.


Who is at Risk

Health workers who do not use proper infection control while caring for Ebola patients, and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients, are at the highest risk of getting sick. Ebola can spread when people come into contact with infected blood or body fluids.

Ebola poses little risk to travelers or the general public who have not cared for or been in close contact (within 3 feet or 1 meter) with someone sick with Ebola.


Prevention of Ebola 

In regions where the Ebola virus is potentially present, infection can be prevented by avoiding contact with blood and body fluids from infected people, sexual contact with semen from a man who has virus in his semen, contact with items contaminated by an infected person’s blood or body fluids, funeral or burial practices that involve touching the body of someone who died from EVD, and contact with bats, forest antelopes, and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, or raw meat prepared from these or unknown animals (bushmeat).

There is no vaccine available for the strain of Ebola virus causing the current outbreak in Uganda.  


Testing and Treatment

If you think you or your family member have symptoms of Ebola and have traveled to Uganda in the last 21 days, contact your healthcare provider.  Clinicians with concerns about a patient with suspected EVD should contact their local department immediately.

There is no specific treatment for the strain of Ebola virus causing the current outbreak in Uganda, however, supportive care can significantly improve outcomes.


Additional Resources

Information for the Public

MDH Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) - General Information 
CDC: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease)
CDC: Uganda Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak 2022​
CDC: Travel Notice - Ebola in Uganda


Information for Clinicians

MDH Clinician Letter: Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Uganda (October 7, 2022)
​CDC Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients Under Investigation for EVD
CDC Laboratory Testing Guidance