Ebola virus disease is another name for VIRAL HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER. The ebola virus is one of the most virulent micro-organisms known. Like the marburg virus (see MARBURG DISEASE), it belongs to the ﬁlovirus group which originates in Africa. Increased population mobility and wars have meant that the infection occasionally occurs elsewhere, with air travellers developing symptoms on returning home.
Treatment As the disease can be neither prevented nor cured, treatment is supportive, with strict anti-infection procedures essential as human-to-human transmission can occur via skin and mucous-membrane contacts. Incubation period is 5–10 days. Fever with MYALGIA and headache occur initially, often accompanied by abdominal and chest symptoms. Haemorrhagic symptoms soon develop and the victim either starts to improve in the second week or develops multi-organ failure and lapses into a coma. Mortality ranges from 25 to 90 per cent.