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Ebola Virus Disease
 Resources are offloaded from a plane to assist those with Ebola.

Photo by: Lance Cpl. Andre Dakis

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness that affects humans and other primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and monkeys. EVD is transmitted by wild animal-to-human and human-to-human infection. While the origin is unknown, fruit bats are believed to be the most likely host. 

Historically sporadic, the most recent outbreak in 2014 was the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since discovery of the virus in 1976. On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The direct threat to Marine Corps personnel and their families is stated to be low, but awareness is key to prevention. This information is provided to share knowledge about EVD based on understanding of the virus as of October 2014. Remain informed by monitoring information posted on the Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center website.

Ebola At A Glance
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  • In the 2014 outbreak, human-to-human contact has been the primary method of EVD transmission in the following ways:
    • Contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and sweat)
    • Contact with objects (such as needles, linens) that have been contaminated with infectious body fluids
    • Eating raw/uncooked wild animal meat, especially monkey meat
  • EVD is NOT spread through the air.
  • Contagion begins when symptoms are present.
  • Currently there is no vaccine or proven treatment available for EVD. Awareness is the key to prevention.
  • For personnel supporting United States Africa Command efforts, training, strict medical protocols, personal protective measures, and carefully planned reintegration measures are being implemented.
A Message from the medical officer of the Marine Corps
Signs and Symptoms
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  • Sudden onset of fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Intense weak­ness
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain

     Followed by:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Impaired kidney and liver function
  • In some cases, both internal and external bleeding


  • Onset of symptoms can occur 2 to 21 days after exposure.
  • The average is 8-10 days.
  • A person with EVD becomes contagious once symptoms are present. They are not believed to be contagious during the period of time between exposure and onset of symptoms. Ebola Virus Disease infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.
Who Is At Risk
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The direct risk to Marine Corps personnel and families is low.

People who are at risk are:    

  • Health care providers caring for Ebola patients
  • Family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients
  • Mourners and mortuary personnel who have direct contact with the bodies of the deceased as part of burial ceremonies
  • Individuals coming in contact with infected wildlife

Marine Corps personnel are to report immediately by phone if they or any individuals are suspected of being infected with Ebola. 

Report to:

Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC)


(757) 953-0700, DSN 377-0700

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Methods of prevention are largely reasonable precautions on the part of individuals. 

  • Avoid unnecessary travel to areas known to be have been affected by EVD outbreak.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids of an individual who has traveled to an area of outbreak, espe­cially if sick.
  • Do not touch items that have had contact with someone infected or their bodily fluids.
  • Do not touch or handle the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats, gorillas, monkeys, or chimpanzees, nor their left over food or bodily fluids and excrement.
  • Avoid hospitals or treatment areas where patients are currently being treated for EVD.
  • If you had to travel to affected areas, pay close attention to your health for 21 days after you return home. Limit exposure to others and seek medical care immediately if you develop a fever (greater than 101.5° F) and any of the symptoms com­mon to EVD. Be sure to tell your health care provider of any potential exposure to EVD.

Personnel supporting efforts through United States Africa Command should at­tend pre-deployment training, adhere to strict medical protocols while deployed, take the above personal protective measures, and carry out carefully planned reintegration measures based on risks and exposure. Speak to your command for details of current protocols and measures.

To date, there is no proven treatment effective in counteracting EVD, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a range of blood, immunological, and drug therapies are under development and testing.
Symptoms of EVD can be treated. Examples of such treatments include providing intravenous fluids, helping with breathing, and controlling blood pressure.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information

CDC: Traveler’s Health and Warningshttp://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/ebola

CDC: About Ebolahttp://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

Personal Protective Equipmenthttp://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ppe-poster.pdf

World Health Organization: Global Alert and Response— http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

Marine Corps Leaders Guide on Ebola

U.S. Department of State: Travel Alertshttp://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/

Downloadable PDF