The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River in what was Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) where the first outbreak of the virus occurred in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1976 along with a simultaneous outbreak in Nzara, Sudan. Outbreaks of the infection, Ebola virus disease (EVD), (previously Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever or Ebola HF) has occurred more than 20 times in Africa since the initial 1976 outbreaks. EVD is a severe disease with a high mortality rate (40-90%) that can occur in people and some primates (monkeys, chimps, and gorillas). The virus causing EVD (genus Ebolavirus) is one of three viruses in the Filoviride family of viruses.
Contact with an infected animal (a bite or contact with bodily secretions or organs) causes the initial transmission from animals to people. Human to human transmission can occur through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person, or direct contact with objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes.