Ebola is the common term for a group of viruses belonging to genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, and for the disease which they cause, Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The viruses are characterised by a long, filamentous morphology surrounded by a lipid viral envelope. Ebola viruses are morphologically similar to the Marburg virus, also in the family Filoviridae, and share similar disease symptoms. Ebola has caused a number of serious and highly publicized outbreaks since its discovery.
The Ebola virus first emerged in 1976 in simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and Zaire. BMJ websiteIt is known to be a zoonotic virus as it is currently devastating the populations of lowland gorillas in Central Africa. Despite considerable effort by the World Health Organization, no animal reservoir capable of sustaining the virus between outbreaks has been identified. However, it has been hypothesized that the most likely candidate is the fruit bat.Ebola hemorrhagic fever is potentially lethal and en