Ebola Home > Ebola Incubation Period

The Ebola incubation period is the period between infection with the virus and the appearance of symptoms associated with the disease. The incubation period can be as short as 2 days or as long as 21 days. A person is still contagious during this time.

What Is the Incubation Period for Ebola?

When a person becomes infected with the Ebola virus, it enters the body and begins to multiply. The virus can travel in the blood to almost any part of the body, including the:
  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Thyroid gland
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Skin
  • Brain.
After four to six days on average, symptoms of Ebola can begin. The period between the transmission of the virus and the start of symptoms is called the incubation period. For Ebola, the incubation period can be as short as 2 days or as long as 21 days.

Is a Person Contagious During the Ebola Incubation Period?

Even if a person exhibits no signs or symptoms of Ebola, he or she can still spread the virus during the incubation period. Once symptoms begin, the person can remain contagious for about three more weeks.
Click Transmission of Ebola to learn about how the virus is spread.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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