How is Ebola transmitted from person to person?

Scientists think people are initially infected with Ebola virus through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or nonhuman primate. This is called a spillover event.

After that, the virus spreads from person to person, potentially affecting a large number of people. Ebola virus disease (EVD) can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of an infected person. This can happen when a person comes into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual, either through broken skin or mucous membranes such as those in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Ebola can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces or materials, such as bedding, clothing, or medical equipment that has been contaminated with the virus. This is why strict infection control measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment, and proper disinfection of surfaces and materials are essential in healthcare settings where infected individuals are being treated.

For most people, the risk of being infected with the Ebola virus is extremely low. The risk increases if you:

  • Travel to an area where known EVD outbreaks have occurred
  • Help take care of someone infected with the virus
  • Have direct contact with a person infected with the virus. Even an infected dead body can still spread the virus

It’s important to note that Ebola virus is not an airborne virus and does not spread through the air. It is only transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, as described above.

It’s also worth noting that a person infected with Ebola virus is only contagious once they begin to show symptoms of the disease. However, it is possible for the virus to remain in bodily fluids, such as semen, for several months after a person has recovered, and this can pose a risk of transmission to others. Therefore, it’s important for survivors to practice safe sex and avoid contact with bodily fluids for a period of time after they have recovered from the disease.