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For General Healthcare Settings in West Africa: Case Definitions for Evaluating Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Page Summary

Understanding case definitions in general healthcare settings can prevent infections, reduce, or stop the spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and protect healthcare workers, patients, and others.

Who this is for: Healthcare workers who are now or will be working in general healthcare settings in West African countries with widespread Ebola transmission. This is not intended for those working in Ebola treatment units (ETUs) or Ebola care centers (ECCs).

What this is for:  To help reduce the spread of infection in general healthcare settings from patients under investigation (PUIs) or patients with confirmed EVD.

How to use: Healthcare workers should use this guidance to familiarize themselves with case definitions for EVD. For additional guidance, see Case Definition for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Key Points

  • A greater awareness of case definitions for EVD in general healthcare settings will protect healthcare workers and patients from EVD.
  • All screeners should consider the following WHO case definitions to assist in evaluating PUIs for EVD.

WHO Case Definition


Any person, alive or dead, suffering or having suffered from a sudden onset of high fever and having had contact with

  • a suspected, probable or confirmed Ebola or Marburg case
  • a dead or sick animal (for Ebola)


Any person with sudden onset of high fever and at least three of the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • anorexia / loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • lethargy
  • stomach pain
  • aching muscles or joints
  • difficulty swallowing
  • breathing difficulties
  • hiccup


Any person with inexplicable bleeding

See additional information about WHO case definitions [PDF – 3 pages].

Patients who are not PUIs are referred to the main treatment area and will continue treatment as normal. If they are PUIs, they must be moved to the isolation area immediately.