How to protect yourself if Ebola breaks out

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe and sometimes-fatal disease in humans and primates, the precise origin of which remains unknown. Most researchers believe the disease is zoonotic, meaning “animal-borne.” Named after the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease was first recognized, the disease has been confirmed in Gabon, Sudan, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, and Uganda, since its discovery in 1976. You can learn to avoid the infection, protect yourself from its effects, and what steps to take in the event you become infected

Method 1 of 3: Avoiding the InfectionPrevent-Ebola-Step1



Understand how the disease is spread. Ebola HF can be spread in a number of ways, though primarily via direct contact with patients, specifically the blood and secretions of an infected patient. Contact with objects such as clothing, bedding, and needles have also been linked to the spread of the disease.[1]

  • Because the symptoms of Ebola HF are non-specific and take a while to become severe, the spread of the disease to friends, family, and throughout hospitals is extremely common. In a healthcare setting, the reuse of unsterilized needles and the lack of proper hospital clothing has contributed to the spread of the disease near the source.

Avoid areas in which infections have been reported and suspected. For now, the disease has only been confirmed in central and west Africa, and now one case in the US, and spread primarily around healthcare facilities where patients are being treated. For the most up-to-date travel warnings and information about potential outbreaks, visit the Centers for Disease control website here.

  • In general, you should avoid areas in which the disease has been reported and suspected. If you’re already there, try and avoid healthcare facilities, unless you yourself suspect you may be infected. Avoid direct contact with the infected, or anyone you suspect to be infected, displaying the symptoms of the illness.



Avoid direct contact with infected people. Because the disease is spread primarily via direct contact with infected patients, the best way to avoid infection is to steer clear of people who are already sick. Blood and other bodily secretions from infected patients are linked closely with the spread of the disease.


Method 2 of 3: Protecting Yourself From Infection


Learn to recognize the symptoms of Ebola HF. The more you know about recognizing the symptoms of infection, the better protected you’ll be. While the symptoms of infection are somewhat general, you can use your judgment to determine whether or not your proximity to the infection and the symptoms you note might signify the presence of the disease. Symptoms have appeared anywhere from 48 hours following exposure to three weeks after exposure, though most symptoms should appear in about a week.[4]

  • Common symptoms of the disease include:
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Joint and muscle aches
    • Weakness
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Stomach pain
    • Lack of appetite
  • Less common symptoms include:
    • Rash
    • Redness in the eyes
    • Hiccups
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Chest pain
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • Bleeding inside and outside of the body




Avoid eating wild-caught bush meat. Researchers have their suspicions that the disease came to humans via animals, probably through the consumption of the meat of primates. If you’re in an area where the disease has been reported, avoid purchasing, eating, or handling wild game to stay on the safe side

  • The remains of infected bodies are just as contagious, making it important to handle the deceased with extreme care. Avoid direct contact with bodies and with the bedding and clothing of the deceased.  Source