Families and the public

What is Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)?

EVD is a severe disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. Diseases that cause hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola, are often fatal as they affect the body's vascular system (how blood moves through the body). This can lead to significant internal bleeding and organ failure.

How is it spread?

In Africa the Ebola virus has been transmitted to humans through handling and/or ingestion of fruit bats, non-human primates or other animals, that are infected with Ebola. 

EVD then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, respiratory secretions, and other fluids of infected people and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It's spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact.

Ebola is not spread through the air, food or water or from a person who does not have symptoms.

The Ebola virus does not normally occur in Canada and there have never been any cases of EVD in this country therefore the risk remains very low. Outbreaks have been documented in several African countries since the virus' discovery in 1976.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can begin 2 to 21 days after exposure. Early symptoms include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat and redness of the eyes.  Late symptoms usually occur 5 to 7 days after fever and include bleeding from the gums, nose, intestines and/or injection sites, shock, multi-organ dysfunction and death (occurs in 50 per cent or more of the cases).

How can EVD be prevented?

It is important that people know the symptoms of EVD.  If a fever and any other symptoms arise during or after travel to an affected region people should seek medical attention immediately by contacting the Provincial Healthline at: 1-888-709-2929. Inform the health care provider that travel has occurred to a region where EVD was present. People should practice hand hygiene at all times.  

What is the treatment?

There is currently no licensed vaccine or treatment for EVD.  Infected individuals are treated for their symptoms.


For additional information on Ebola Virus Disease follow this link: Public Health Agency of Canada