UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: International EM

Title: Deadly Ebola- Coming to a hospital near you?

Keywords: Ebola, hemorrhagic fever, international (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/30/2014 by Jon Mark Hirshon, MD, MPH, PhD (Updated: 4/22/2024)
Click here to contact Jon Mark Hirshon, MD, MPH, PhD

General Information:

Ebola is a deadly hemorrhagic fever of the virus family Filoviridae

  • The largest outbreak known is currently affecting multiple countries in West Africa (especially Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).
  • As of July 23rd, the WHO has recorded a total of 1,201 cases and 672 deaths (case fatality rate of 56%).


Clinical Information:

  • Spread by close contact (direct contact with body fluids)
    • Primarily seen in family members of those infected and health care workers
  • Incubation is usually from 8-10 days (can be from 2-21 days)
  • Typical signs and symptoms include: fever, headaches, muscle/joint aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Additionally, some patients may experience: rash, red eyes, chest pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, bleeding from multiple areas


Treatment and Public Health

  • Supportive care and treatment of complications
  • Contact isolation
  • Immediately report to the local health authorities


Bottom Line:

            While the likelihood of general dissemination to the general U.S. population is very low, U.S. healthcare workers need to be aware and alert for the signs and symptoms of Ebola for patients recently returned from West Africa.



Current CDC advisory: