Ebola virus disease
Ebola virus disease is a serious, rare infection usually found in certain parts of Africa. It's caught by coming into contact with the body fluids of an infected person or wild animal.
Check if you're at risk of Ebola
Ebola is caused by a virus caught from wild animals. It spreads from person to person when you touch infected body fluids, such as semen, saliva, blood, poo, pee and vomit.
There have been outbreaks of the virus in Central and West Africa in the past.
The most recent outbreaks have been in:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
It's never been spread from person to person in the UK.
Check before you travel
It's important to check the Ebola risk for the country you're travelling to before you go.
Check the risks for a country you're travelling to on the Travel Health Pro website
How to avoid Ebola
If you're travelling to an area where Ebola is found, get advice from a travel clinic before you go.
It's best to do this at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel, but you can still get advice at the last minute if you need to.
wash your hands regularly
wash and peel fruit and vegetables before eating them
try to avoid anyone who has symptoms of Ebola
use a condom if you have sex with someone who's recovered from Ebola in the last few months
do not touch or eat raw or undercooked meat from wild animals in countries where Ebola is found
do not touch a person, their body fluids (such as vomit) or anything they may have come into contact with (such as clothes and bedding) if they've died from Ebola or have Ebola symptoms
do not touch the body fluids of someone who has Ebola, or anything they may have come into contact with (such as clothes and bedding)
do not handle wild animals, especially bats, monkeys, baboons and chimpanzees
Symptoms of Ebola
Ebola symptoms can start between 2 and 21 days after being infected.
They can appear suddenly and include flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, extreme tiredness and a headache.
Other symptoms include:
- being sick
- diarrhoea and tummy pain
- a skin rash
- yellowing of the skin and eyes
- blood in your poo
- lots of bruises all over your body
- bleeding from your ears, eyes, nose or mouth
Urgent advice: Call NHS 111 if:
- you have travelled to a country where Ebola is found and have Ebola symptoms
- you have come into contact with someone who's travelled to a country where Ebola is found and have Ebola symptoms
Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people, including sharing towels or bedding, until you've been told what to do.
Get medical advice quickly if you have Ebola symptoms while you're travelling.
Treatment for Ebola
Ebola is an emergency and needs to be treated quickly.
You'll usually be treated in isolation in hospital and will need specialist care in an intensive care unit.
Treatment involves managing your symptoms, such as:
- help with breathing
- fluids given directly into a vein to stop you becoming dehydrated
Page last reviewed: 11 January 2023
Next review due: 11 January 2026