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Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is the 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. 

What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever?

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.

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.

Solutions

Solutions

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?

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). 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.

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

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, general industry

  • 29 CFR 1910.1020 - access to employee exposure and medical records - general industry

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

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.