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For people with Ebola, treatment involves providing relief of symptoms while the body fights the infection. This is known as supportive care. Intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and oxygen are usually employed. Treatment may also include the use of medications to control fever, help the blood clot, and maintain blood pressure. Even with such supportive care, death occurs in 50 to 90 percent of cases.

Understanding Treatment for Ebola

There are currently no proven treatment options that can kill the Ebola virus. Thus, treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This is called supportive care.

Supportive Care as Ebola Treatment

Supportive treatment measures for Ebola include:
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids to maintain fluids and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride)
  • Oxygen and devices that help with breathing
  • Medications to control fever, help the blood clot, and maintain blood pressure
  • Antibiotics to prevent secondary infections from bacteria
  • Good nursing care.

What Is the Outcome Following Treatment?

Death occurs in 50 to 90 percent of cases. Ebola research scientists do not understand why some people are able to recover from the illness and others are not; however, it is known that Ebola victims usually have not developed a significant immune response to the virus at the time of death.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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