Ebola information for health professionals

Information on Ebola for health professionals, including symptoms and advice on managing suspected cases.

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The onset of Ebola symptoms is sudden and includes intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding progressing to shock and multi-organ failure.

The case-fatality ratio for the Zaire strain of Ebola virus is estimated to be between 50% and 90%. The incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days (although is usually between 8 and 10 days).

Case definitions

Find these at Case definitions for Ebola virus disease.

For suspected cases of EVD

  • Implement transmission-based precautions immediately (contact and droplet), including the use of personal protective equipment. Airborne transmission precautions apply to aerosol generating procedures and in the laboratory.
  • Notify the local Medical Officer of Health immediately. They will notify the Ministry of Health. View contact details for public health units.

More information for primary care facilities and clinicians is in the Patient management guideline for primary care: Ebola virus disease (Word, 263 KB), updated 4 February 2015.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

For a video demonstration for the procedures for donning and doffing (removal) of PPE when treating a person identified as suspected or confirmed EVD, go to the CDC website.

Note that the CDC training video is based on PPE being used at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US, and there are likely to be variations in local PPE equipment. If you have any queries, please discuss these with your IPC nurse specialist.

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