Ebola virus disease is a contagious disease caused by a virus of the family Filoviridae that is responsible for a severe viral hemorrhagic fever. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected. EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. Till now no ebola virus-specific treatment exists. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebola virus though 8 to 10 days is most common after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. From 1976 through 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases of ebola. The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The recent outbreak was first detected on 6 December, 2013 in Guinea, a western African nation. On August 8, following a sudden rise in cases the World Health Organization announced the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.