Incubation period and symptoms

Incubation period and transmission risks

The incubation period (the time between infection by the virus and the appearance of the first symptoms) varies from 2 to 21 days (most commonly from 8 to 16 days).

Transmission does not occur during the incubation period.

A person who has no symptoms is not contagious.

Contagion can only occur once the first symptoms appear.

Someone who has survived the disease can remain a carrier of the virus in certain bodily fluids for eight weeks after recovery.

The risk of transmission is low in the first phases of the disease and increases when it worsens.


If you

  • return from a West African country experiencing an Ebola epidemic (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia) or you have been there in the last three weeks;
  • have had contact with an ill person or animal, living or dead;
  • have eaten bush meat;
  • and feel unwell or have a fever of 38.5°C and/or symptoms such as headaches, muscular pains or a swollen throat


After around a week, these symptoms are followed by

  • vomiting,
  • diarrhoea,
  • rashes,
  • kidney and liver failure,
  • and, in some cases, internal and external haemorrhaging.

Most people with the disease die during the second week due to multiple organ failures, disseminated intravascular coagulation and cardiopulmonary shock.

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