Ebola Virus

The Ebola virus is a type of bloodborne microorganism that is responsible for causing Ebola hemorrhagic fever. To date, the vast majority of cases of infection with the Ebola virus have been limited to the West Africa region. 

Ebola hemorrhagic fever, or EHF (sometimes referred to as Ebola Virus Disease, or EVD) is the disease caused by infection with one of several strains of the Ebola virus. It is characterized by symptoms typical of viral infections including fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. As the disease progresses, patients can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and impaired organ function. In the worst cases, rash and internal and external bleeding can develop, followed by death.

Ebola Virus

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What are the hazards associated with the Ebola virus?

In the absence of aggressive and effective medical care, EHF has a high mortality rate. Healthcare workers treating patients with Ebola hemorrhagic fever can become infected with the Ebola virus and become severely ill and die if not appropriately treated and in a timely manner.

What can I do to protect myself?

Healthcare workers, emergency response personnel and others responsible for providing any type of medical assistance, including first aid, should always observe universal precautions where there is actual or potential exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. This includes ensuring that you are provided with and don surgical or exam gloves prior to providing any type of medical assistance.

Employers and employees can exercise additional precautions by implementing standard precautions. Standard precautions goes beyond universal precautions by regarding all body fluids as potentially infectious, not just blood or other potentially infectious materials.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

This example bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace. In addition, a PPE hazard assessment should be conducted to ensure appropriate PPE has been identified.

Training and Outreach Services

Presentations on bloodborne pathogensrespiratory protection, and personal protective equipment can be modified and used for employee training.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

More information can be found on the A-Z topics page for bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, recording and reporting and personal protective equipment

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to ebola virus in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Other OSH standards that may apply to occupational exposure to the Ebola virus include:


  • 29 CFR 1904.8 - recording criteria for needlestick and sharp injuries

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Compliance Documents

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.