Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after contact with an ebolavirus, with an average of 8 to 10 days. The course of the illness typically progresses from “dry” symptoms initially (such as fever, aches and pains, and fatigue), and then progresses to “wet” symptoms (such as diarrhea and vomiting) as the person becomes sicker.

Primary signs and symptoms of Ebola disease often include some or several of the following:

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains, such as severe headache and muscle and joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Unexplained hemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising

Other symptoms may include red eyes, skin rash, and hiccups.

Many common illnesses can have the same symptoms as Ebola disease, including influenza (flu), malaria, or typhoid fever.

Ebola disease is a rare and often deadly illness. Recovery depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. Studies show that survivors of an ebolavirus infection have antibodies (proteins made by the immune system that identify and neutralize invading viruses) that can be detected in the blood up to 10 years after recovery. Survivors are thought to have some protective immunity to the species of ebolavirus that sickened them.