Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Ebola virus disease is caused by the Ebola virus and is one of a number of hemorrhagic fever diseases. Ebola virus disease causes severe illness in which 50-90 percent of those infected die. Ebola disease was first discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) near the Ebola River.

Ebola symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Some patients have a rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat, chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or bleeding inside and outside the body.

Symptoms usually start 4-10 days after coming into contact with Ebola virus but can occur as early as 2 days to up to 21 days after exposure.

Health care providers caring for Ebola patients, and family and friends in close contact with an ill person are at highest risk because they may come into contact with blood or body fluids.

Recent Outbreaks

2021 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guinea Outbreaks

On February 7, 2021, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced that a case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) had been confirmed in Biena Health Zone, North Kivu Province. Subsequent cases have since been confirmed. North Kivu was previously affected by EVD during the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak, the largest in DRC’s history, which was declared over on June 25, 2020. Sequencing of samples suggests that cases are linked to cases in the area during the 2018–2020 outbreak and likely caused by a persistent infection in a survivor that led to either a relapse or sexual transmission of the virus.

Additionally, on February 14, 2021, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Guinea announced that cases of EVD had been confirmed in N’Zérékoré Prefecture, a forested rural region in southeast Guinea. These are the first cases of EVD confirmed in Guinea since the 2014–2016 West Africa outbreak, the largest in history, was declared over. Sequencing of samples is underway to determine if the outbreak is due to a new introduction of the virus or linked to cases from the previous outbreak.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) is maintaining situational awareness of the outbreaks and will respond as needed.

Note: As of March 4, 2021, the United States government instituted traveler monitoring recommendations related to the outbreaks in West Africa. Monitoring was discontinued on May 14, 2021.

2018 - 2019 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Outbreak

On May 8, 2018, the Ministry of Public Health in the DRC declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in northwest DRC. In August 2018, a new outbreak was reported in eastern DRC. The World Health Organization reported that as of June 19, 2019, there have been over 2,000 Ebola cases reported, including over 1400 deaths.

The Section of Epidemiology is maintaining situational awareness of the outbreaks and will respond as needed.

Note: As of June 21, 2019, there are no traveler monitoring recommendations related to the outbreak in DRC. As always, providers should collect travel histories on their patients.

2014/2016 West Africa Outbreak

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa which began in 2014 was the largest ever recorded with more than 28,600 cases. In preparation for the possible importation of Ebola from travelers returning from affected countries, the Section of Epidemiology worked closely with its partners to make sure everyone was prepared.

Activities included:

  • Interagency teleconferences
  • Multidisciplinary Grand Rounds presentations
  • Public Health Alerts
  • Multiple television and radio media interviews
  • Frequent telephone and email consultations with stakeholders
  • Participation in regular teleconferences with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and other States to ensure updated and accurate information and guidance

Note: As of December 29, 2015, active monitoring was no longer required for travelers from any of the three affected countries affected by the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa due to an absence of sustained disease activity.

DHSS Ebola Virus Disease Response Plan

Resources for the General Public

Resources for Healthcare Providers

Public Health Alerts


For archived Public Health Alerts, please visit the PHAN Archive.

Please email InfDisease@alaska.gov with any questions.