Ebola, also known as Ebola Virus Disease, is one of numerous viral hemorrhagic fevers. Ebola is caused by a virus and is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and animals, such as bats, monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. More

What Rhode Islanders Should Know

All people planning to travel internationally should consult CDC travel advisories before traveling and follow CDC recommendations. The CDC also continues to provide updated guidance for healthcare providers working in facilities in the U.S. and international settings.

At-Risk Populations

  • Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients
  • Family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients
  • People who have come in contact with objects (clothes, bedding, needles, etc.) that have been contaminated with body fluids from a person with Ebola
  • People who have had sexual contact with men who are Ebola survivors More
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms usually begin suddenly anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure, although 8-10 days is most common. Ebola is only contagious in a person who is experiencing symptoms.

    Symptoms of Ebola include:

    • Fever
    • Severe headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Weakness
    • Fatigue
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Unexplained bleeding or bruising more

    How It Spreads

    Ebola is a virus that is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids (blood, vomit, feces, urine, saliva, breast milk, sweat, semen) of someone who is sick with Ebola symptoms, someone who has died from Ebola or sexual contact (semen) with someone who has recovered from Ebola. People can also get infected by handling objects (such as needles, clothing, etc.) carrying the virus. The virus can spread if the body fluids from an infected person have touched a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or an open cut, wound, or scratch.

    Ebola is NOT spread through: casual contact, air, water, or food grown or legally purchased in the United States. Household pets are not at significant risk in the United States. more

    Testing & Diagnosis

    If a person develops symptoms of Ebola and has recently traveled to one of the affected countries or has had contact with someone with Ebola, the person should immediately contact the Rhode Island Department of Health at 401-222-2577, or after hours at 401-276-8046. If a person has Ebola-like symptoms and there is reason to believe that Ebola is a possibility (see risk factors) then the following procedures are followed:

    • The patient is isolated as soon as possible.
    • Laboratory samples from the patient are collected and tested to confirm infection.
    • Healthcare providers and public health professionals follow CDC guidance concerning proper precautions for patient care of a person suspected of having Ebola. more