The Ebola virus disease, also know as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a disease spread primarily between humans, non-human primates, and other mammals which can have disastrous and deadly effects. Symptoms experienced at the onset will be hard to distinguish from the common flu but in later stages can progress into hemorrhaging — bleeding; internal and external — followed by organ failure, and ultimately death.
With such disastrous consequences, it’s important to ensure that you know all the signs and symptoms caused by the disease. Unfortunately, there still isn’t a vaccine, but there are ongoing efforts to develop one.
It’s also important to know that Ebola symptoms usually appear sometime between 2 and 21 days after exposure to the virus, although 8 to 10 days is the most common.
Chapter 1. Common Symptoms
Section 1. Fever
This is one of the major symptoms of Ebola, and it’s also one of the first to appear. Having a body temperature greater than 101.5°F (38.6°C) should immediately be of concern if you’ve been anywhere that you could have potentially been exposed to the virus.
Section 2. Severe Headache
This is usually encountered with the fever at the onset.
Muscle Pain, Weakness, Fatigue
Muscle pain and weakness are also experienced at onset and are another common symptom shared with influenza.
Section 3. Vomiting and Diarrhea
These two symptoms aren’t always encountered by everyone who’s suffering from the disease, but most do feel a sense of continuous discomfort in their stomach, combined with diarrhea and vomiting.
Bleeding / Hemorrhaging
Although hemorrhaging is not experienced in all cases, it’s a common symptom of the disease that may present itself as bleeding from mucous membranes, puncture sites, or internally. Symptoms of internal bleeding are reddened eyes, bloody vomit, bloody stool, coughing up blood, and hematomas — localized collection of blood outside the vessels; or bruising. This phase typically begins 5 to 7 days after the onset of symptoms.
Chapter 2. Less common symptoms
Other types of symptoms may be experienced as well, but these shouldn’t be generalized because they are mostly encountered in specific situations. These symptoms might include a shortness of breath, lack of appetite, sore throat, chest pain and difficulties in swallowing. As we mentioned earlier, these won’t tell you that you have Ebola, but if they come combined with one of the major symptoms presented above, then there’s a chance that you contracted the virus.
Recovering from the Ebola virus depends mostly on early care and how well the immune system of a person performs. However, if a person does manage to recover from Ebola, he/she will start developing antibodies that will provide immunity to the disease at least for 10-13 years.
Of course, if you do encounter even one of the symptoms above, please call a health provider immediately, as they are the only ones who can truly determine if you are infected with the virus and, if this is the case, start treatment and guide you towards recovery.