Ebola: How the disease affects the body

The current outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 6,000 lives since it began in July 2014. Because of the violent nature of the disease and the quick eruption of cases, there has been much fear and misinformation about the disease. Here is some basic information about how the disease spreads and what its symptoms look like.


On average, symptoms appear in someone infected with Ebola 8 to 10 days after exposure to the disease.

The disease causes a fever higher than 105 degrees Farenheight.

People infected with Ebola experience severe headaches.

Joint and muscle aches are one of the early signs of the disease.

Stomach pain is often accompanied by vomiting.

Because Ebola affects the digestive system, it can cause bloody diarrhea and often leads to significant weight loss.

How it spreads:

How it doesn't spread:

Even if a person is exposed to the disease, they will not contract it unless it breaks the skin or the mucous membranes around the eyes, nose and mouth. It cannot be spread by air, water or food, with the exception of bushmeat. Bushmeat is wild animals killed for food. Because bushmeat often includes primates and monkeys, which are succeptible to Ebola, it can infect a person if ingested.