Transmission risk levels

Depending on the type of contact, three levels of transmission risk can be distinguished (defined by the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance):

Very low risk

  • Limited contact without personal protective equipment or concept of care with a fevered but ambulatory patient able to look after himself/herself.

E.g. sitting next to someone on public transport (bus, underground) or exchanging documents at the hospital reception.


Low risk

  • Close face-to-face contact without personal protective equipment with a patient who is fevered but ambulatory.

E.g. a clinical examination including taking the patient's temperature and blood pressure.

High risk


  • Close face-to-face contact (less than a metre) without personal protective equipment with a fevered patient who is coughing, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or who has diarrhoea.
  • Unprotected sexual contact with a person confirmed to have been infected with the Ebola virus, up to 3 months following recovery.
  • Direct contact with material contaminated with bodily fluids from someone infected with Ebola.
  • Transcutaneous exposure, accidental exposure to blood by injection with a needle or exposure of the mucous membranes to blood or bodily fluid (including diarrhoeic faeces or vomit), to biological tissues or contaminated clinical samples taken from a patient.
  • Participation in funerary rights which include direct exposure to the body of the deceased without adapted personal protective equipment.
  • Direct contact with bats, primates or rodents, either dead or alive, originating from the affected areas, or bush meat.


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