Transmission of Ebola

Transmission of Ebola can occur through exposure to blood or bodily secretions of an infected person, or through direct contact with the person. During outbreaks of the Ebola virus, transmission of the virus in hospitals is very common, especially when patients are cared for without the use of proper barrier techniques and sterilization practices. One subtype of Ebola was reported in a primate research facility in Virginia, where it appears that transmission of Ebola from monkey to monkey occurred through the air; however, such transmission has not been seen among humans.

Transmission of Ebola: An Overview

Transmission of Ebola occurs through direct contact with an infected person or his or her body fluids (such as blood or secretions). Transmission of Ebola occurs most often during the late stages of an Ebola infection.
Transmission of Ebola: Direct Contact With an Infected Person
One way that transmission of Ebola can occur is through direct contact with an infected person. This most often occurs at a burial ceremony where mourners touch recently deceased Ebola victims.
Transmission of Ebola: Exposure to Infected Body Fluids
Another way that transmission of Ebola occurs involves direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person. In this situation, the Ebola virus often spreads to the patient's family and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for the infected person. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

How Does Transmission of Ebola Occur in Hospitals?

Transmission of Ebola in hospitals is very common during Ebola outbreaks. In African healthcare facilities, patients with Ebola are often cared for without the use of a mask, gown, or gloves. Exposure to the Ebola virus has occurred when healthcare workers treated individuals with Ebola hemorrhagic fever without wearing these types of protective clothing. In addition, when needles or syringes are used, they may not be of the disposable type, or may not have been sterilized, but are only rinsed before reinsertion into multi-use vials of medicine. If needles or syringes become contaminated with virus and are then reused, numerous people can become infected.

Background on Ebola

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