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What are the Ebola virus and Ebola Reston?

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines Ebola as a disease caused by one of five viruses of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus: Ebola virus, Sudan virus, Tai Forest virus, Bundibugyo virus and Reston virus. Of the five species of Ebolavirus, four have been shown to infect humans and cause illness. As of January 2015, the fifth strain, the Reston virus, has only infected nonhuman primates.

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The first recognized outbreak of Ebola occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Since that time, there have been 34 outbreaks of Ebola. The March 2014 outbreak infected 21,832 people and killed 8,690, as of January 2015 according to CDC data. This outbreak is the most deadly and widespread outbreak of Ebola, with cases occurring in nine separate countries. Prior to this outbreak, the largest outbreak of Ebola was caused by the Sudan virus; it occurred in Uganda from 2000 to 2001 and infected 425 people, killing 224 of them.

Ebola has an incubation period of two to 21 days. Ebola patients present with symptoms ranging from headaches, fever, muscle pain, fatigue and weakness to more severe complaints like diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising, explains the CDC.

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