Risk of Exposure
Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks of Ebola among humans have appeared sporadically in Africa.
All cases of human illness or death from Ebola have occurred in Africa (with the exception of several laboratory contamination cases: one in England and two in Russia). One travel-associated case was diagnosed in the United States on September 30, 2014. On October 12, 2014, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola. CDC confirms that the healthcare worker is positive for Ebola. For more information, see Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States.
Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. People also can become sick with Ebola after coming in contact with infected wildlife. For example, in Africa, Ebola may spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. The virus also can be spread through contact with objects (like clothes, bedding, needles, syringes/sharps or medical equipment) that have been contaminated with the virus or with infected animals.
Past Ebola Outbreaks
Past Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the following countries:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- South Sudan
- Ivory Coast
- Republic of the Congo (ROC)
- South Africa (imported)
Current Ebola Outbreak in West Africa
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history and is affecting multiple countries in West Africa.
- Questions and Answers on the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak
- Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in U.S. Hospitals
- Interim Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Ebola Virus Disease Exposure
- Frequently Asked Questions: Safe Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals
- Tools for Protecting Healthcare Personnel
- Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals
- Page last reviewed: October 12, 2014
- Page last updated: October 12, 2014
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