Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and frequently lethal disease caused by Ebola virus (EBOV). EVD outbreaks typically start from a single case of probable zoonotic transmission, followed by human-to-human transmission via direct contact or contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated fomites. EVD has a high case–fatality rate; it is characterized by fever, gastrointestinal signs and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Diagnosis requires a combination of case definition and laboratory tests, typically real-time reverse transcription PCR to detect viral RNA or rapid diagnostic tests based on immunoassays to detect EBOV antigens. Recent advances in medical countermeasure research resulted in the recent approval of an EBOV-targeted vaccine by European and US regulatory agencies. The results of a randomized clinical trial of investigational therapeutics for EVD demonstrated survival benefits from two monoclonal antibody products targeting the EBOV membrane glycoprotein. New observations emerging from the unprecedented 2013–2016 Western African EVD outbreak (the largest in history) and the ongoing EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have substantially improved the understanding of EVD and viral persistence in survivors of EVD, resulting in new strategies toward prevention of infection and optimization of clinical management, acute illness outcomes and attendance to the clinical care needs of patients.
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