Ebola Virus Disease | Causes & Risk Factors


How is the Ebola virus spread?

The Ebola virus is not spread as easily as common viruses like colds or the flu. It is not spread through the air, or in water or food. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can spread the Ebola virus.

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with:

  • Blood of a person infected with the Ebola virus
  • Body fluids (for example, breast milk, stool, saliva, semen, sweat, urine, or vomit) of a person infected with the Ebola virus
  • Objects (for example, needles or syringes) that have been contaminated with the Ebola virus

Direct contact means that a person’s eyes, mouth, nose, or broken skin touches a contaminated object, or infected blood or body fluids. Broken skin may be a cut, scratch, scrape, or open wound.

Is a person who recovers from Ebola virus disease still contagious?

A person who has fully recovered from Ebola virus disease is no longer contagious. However, men who have recovered from the disease can still pass on the virus in their semen for up to 3 months after their symptoms first appear. They should not have sex (including oral sex) during this time.

Am I at risk of getting Ebola virus disease?

For most people, the risk of being infected with the Ebola virus is extremely low. The risk is increased if you:

  • Travel to an area where Ebola virus outbreaks have occurred
  • Help take care of someone infected with the Ebola virus
  • Have direct contact with the dead body of a person infected with the Ebola virus. An infected body can still spread the virus.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Created: 10/14