In an Ebola outbreak, the first human case usually occurs through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth with the blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of an infected animal.
- The animal reservoir of the Ebola virus has not yet been confirmed, but bats are considered likely.
- In Africa, Ebola virus has been transmitted through handling and/or ingestion of fruit bats, non-human primates or other animals, like forest duikers (an African antelope), that are infected with Ebola.
Once one person is infected with the virus, Ebola can spread from person-to-person through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth with:
- a symptomatic person’s blood or body fluids, for example: blood, semen, saliva, urine, vomit and feces
- objects that have become contaminated by the blood or body fluids of an infected person, for example: needles and other medical equipment, bed linen or soiled clothing.
- the body of someone who has died from Ebola
Ebola cannot be spread:
- In the air
- Through food or water
- Via an infected person who does not have symptoms