No drug has been approved to treat the virus. People diagnosed with Ebola virus receive supportive care and treatment for complications. Scientists are coming closer to developing vaccines for these deadly diseases. Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection with Ebola virus. Early signs and symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Joint and muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhoea (may be bloody)
- Red eyes
- Raised rash
- Chest pain and cough
- Stomach pain
- Severe weight loss
- Bleeding, usually from the eyes, and bruising (people near death may bleed from other orifices, such as ears, nose and rectum)
- Internal bleeding
1. Blood: Butchering or eating infected animals can spread the viruses. Scientists who have operated on infected animals as part of their research have also contracted the virus.
2. Waste products: Tourists in certain African caves and some underground mine workers have been infected with the Ebola virus, possibly through contact with infected bats.
Infected people typically don't become contagious until they develop symptoms. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives or prepare the dead for burial. Medical personnel can be infected if they don't use protective gear, such as surgical masks and gloves. Medical centres in Africa are often so poor that they must reuse needles and syringes. Some of the worst Ebola epidemics have occurred because contaminated injection equipment wasn't sterilized between uses.