Ebola (Ebola virus disease) is a rare and often fatal illness caused by the Ebola virus.
People become infected with the Ebola virus only if they have direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.
The vast majority of people with Ebola live in Africa. Several outbreaks have occurred since the disease was first recorded, including a major outbreak in West Africa during 2014-2015.
What is the Ebola virus?
The Ebola virus lives in wild animals such as bats, monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas. However, the virus can spread to humans if they have close contact with an infected animal.
There is no evidence that the virus lives in any wild animals in Australia.
Among humans, the virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions or other bodily fluids of an infected person, or items contaminated with their fluids.
At risk of getting Ebola?
If you have arrived in Australia after being in an affected area of Africa during the past 21 days, and are concerned you may have symptoms of infection and could have been at risk of exposure to the Ebola virus, see a doctor or go to a hospital emergency department for advice. Make sure you mention where you have been travelling.
Without any of the exposures outlined above, your risk of Ebola is highly unlikely.
Visit the Department of Health website for more information on Ebola, including:
- general Ebola information
- symptoms and risk factors for Ebola virus infection
- a list of countries affected by Ebola (or visual maps on the WHO website)
- what to do if you have been in an Ebola-affected country.
Last reviewed: January 2017