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Ebola Virus

When Do Ebola Symptoms Show Up?

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As Ebola hemorrhagic fever continues to get more coverage in the worldwide media, it’s natural to feel some level of apprehension about whether you or someone you love could contract this virus. Not only is it critical for your peace of mind to know the symptoms, but to also know roughly how long they can take to show up. This can help you take better precautions if you must care for people who may be infected or if you yourself are at risk of infection.

Initial Onset

Although some people will display symptoms only a few days after their initial exposure to the Ebola virus, this isn’t always the case. In some instances, it can take as long as 21 days for infected people to begin displaying any kind of symptom. That said, people with Ebola are not typically considered contagious until the onset of symptoms. Researchers currently have little information about why some people have symptoms after two days and others take nearly three weeks to get sick.

Ebola Symptoms

Part of the reason people are so concerned about the first case of Ebola being reported in the US is because it coincides with the beginning of flu season and many of the early Ebola symptoms are flu-like in nature. The most common early symptoms of this virus are:

  • Achy joints
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Weakness

As the virus progresses in its attack against the body’s immune system, new symptoms may emerge, including:

  • Bruising
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • External Bleeding
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Raised rash
  • Red rash
  • Severe weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

What you’ll notice missing from these symptom lists are some of the hallmarks of the common cold and the flu, like runny nose, sneezing and sinus pressure.

Possible Complications

Once the Ebola virus reaches its final stage, many patients may experience the following complications:

  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Jaundice
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Seizures
  • Severe bleeding
  • Shock

Unfortunately, doctors and other health officials aren’t completely sure why Ebola hemorrhagic fever progresses rapidly and fatally in some people and why other people are slow to show symptoms and eventually recover.

Of course, even people who do recover from Ebola can experience lingering health issues. These can include:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Hepatitis
  • Sensory changes
  • Testicular inflammation
  • Weakness

If you’ve recently been exposed to the body fluids of a person or animal with Ebola and you begin exhibiting any of the initial symptoms, it’s critical you seek medical treatment right away.

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