The mode of transmission for the Ebola Virus has not been identified, however, scientists believe that the first patients typically become infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat, apes or monkeys.When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through blood or bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen. Objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with bodily fluids from a person who is sick with Ebola can also be carriers of the virus.
It can be difficult to clinically distinguish ebola virus from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, meningitis and other viral haemorrhagic fevers. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: high fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain and lack of appetite.
Confirmation that symptoms are caused by Ebola virus infection are made using the following diagnostic methods:
- antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- antigen-capture detection tests
- serum neutralization test
- reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
- electron microscopy
- virus isolation by cell culture.