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Ebola (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever)

Find the Information You Need to Make an Informed Vaccine Decision
Updated August 13, 2022


 

ebola
 

Ebola: The Disease

Ebola is a serious contagious viral disease with a high mortality rate.1 The natural reservoir for the virus is thought to be a fruit bat native to Africa. Both humans and non-human primates are susceptible to infection.2

Symptoms start with a fever, headache, muscle and stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, skin bruising and bleeding. As the disease progresses, damage to the immune system as well as the body’s internal organs occur. White blood cell and platelet counts decrease and both internal and external bleeding can occur. Fatality rates from the disease have ranged from 25 to 90 percent but the average case fatality rate is estimated at 50 percent.3 4 A person can have the virus but not show any symptoms for as long as three weeks.5

Persons who survive Ebola virus disease develop long-term immunity; however, health problems frequently persist upon recovery.6 Learn more about ebola…

Ebola Vaccine

On December 19, 2019, the FDA approved ERVEBO (rVSV-ZEBOV), a genetically modified live Ebola virus vaccine for use in persons 18 years of age and older. This vaccine is manufactured by Merck and targets the Zaire ebolavirus strain.7 ERVEBO is a live, genetically modified Ebola virus vaccine and uses an attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus, a pathogen that infects livestock (cattle, horses, deer, pigs) with one of its genes replaced by an Ebolavirus gene.8 9

Adverse events reported during clinical trials of ERVEBO included: injection site pain, swelling, and redness; headache; fever; nausea; fatigue; muscle pain; joint pain, swelling, stiffness, warmth, and redness; abnormal sweating; rash; mouth ulcers; vesicular lesions; arthralgia; arthritis; anaphylaxis; cerebrovascular accident; hemorrhagic stroke; subarachnoid hemorrhage; pulmonary embolism; and death.10 Learn more about ebola vaccine…

Quick Facts

Ebola (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever)

  • Ebola is a serious contagious disease with a high mortality rate. The incubation period from initial exposure to onset of acute disease symptoms is between 2 and 21 days with the average being 8 to 10 days. Symptoms start with a fever, headache, muscle and stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and skin bruising and may also include a skin rash, red eyes, and hiccups.11 Additional symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, seizures, and bleeding. White blood cell and platelet counts decrease and both internal and external bleeding can occur. Fatal cases usually present with more severe symptoms early in the course of the illness, and death generally occurs from sepsis or multiorgan failure between day 6 and 16.12

  • The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected blood or body fluids, or by coming into contact with objects infected by the virus. It can also be spread through exposure to infected primates (apes, monkey, etc.) or fruit bats. A person with Ebola virus is only contagious to others after they begin to show signs of illness.13 Continue reading quick facts…

Ebola Vaccines

  • On December 19, 2019, the FDA approved Merck’s ERVEBO Ebola vaccine, a genetically modified live Ebola virus vaccine for use in persons 18 years of age and older.14 The vaccine targets the species Zaire ebolavirus. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that ERVEBO be given to all persons responding to an outbreak of Ebola virus disease, healthcare workers treating patients at federally-designated Ebola treatment centers in the U.S., biosafety-level 4 laboratory personnel,15 healthcare personnel at specialized pathogen care centers, and to support and laboratory staff at Laboratory Response Network facilities.16

  • The ERVEBO package insert reports that the vaccine has the potential to infect others with vaccine-strain Ebolavirus due to virus shedding.17 Continue reading quick facts…

Learn More About Ebola and Ebola Vaccine

Click here to view, download, or print all sections below as one document or webpage.

NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Ebola and the Ebola vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents below, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

 
 

References:

[1] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and Symptoms. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). May 4, 2021.

[2] Patel PR, Shah SU. Ebola Virus. 2020 Jul 21. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan–. PMID: 32809414.

[3] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and Symptoms. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). May 4, 2021.

[4] World Health Organization. Ebola Virus Disease. In: Fact Sheet. Feb. 23, 2021.

[5] World Health Organization. Ebola Virus Disease. In: Fact Sheet. Feb. 23, 2021.

[6] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Survivors. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). Nov. 5, 2019.

[7] Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Package Insert – ERVEBO. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Jan. 16, 2021.

[8] Geisbert TW, Feldman H. Recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-Based Vaccines Against Ebola and Marburg Virus Infections. J Infect Dis Nov. 2011; 204 (Supplement 3: S1075-S1081.

[9] Pauls K. Ebola Vaccine Trials Will Start in Weeks, say WHO and Company. CBC News Oct. 3, 2014.

[10] Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Approval History, Letters, Reviews, and Related Documents - ERVEBO. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Jan. 16, 2021.

[11] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and Symptoms. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). May 4, 2021.

[12] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Information for Clinicians in U.S. Healthcare Settings. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). Mar. 10, 2021.

[13] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transmission. In: Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease). Jan. 14, 2021.

[14] Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Package Insert – ERVEBO. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Jan. 16, 2021.

[15] Choi MJ, Cossaboom CM, Whitesell AN, et al. Use of Ebola Vaccine: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, United States, 2020. MMWR Jan. 8, 2021; 70(1): 1–12.

[16] Malenfant JH, Joyce A, Choi MJ, et al. Use of Ebola Vaccine: Expansion of Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices To Include Two Additional Populations — United States, 2021. MMWR Feb. 25, 2022; 71(8):290–292.

[17] Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Package Insert – ERVEBO. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Jan. 16, 2021.

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