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.
Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and 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.
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. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States.
- Questions and Answers on the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak
- Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals
- Interim U.S. Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Potential Ebola Virus Exposure
- Think Ebola
- Tools for Protecting Healthcare Personnel
- Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals
- Page last reviewed: February 23, 2015
- Page last updated: February 23, 2015
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