Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness, with a death rate of up to 90 per cent. It affects humans as well as primates, including monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.
Once a person becomes infected, the virus can spread through contact with a sufferer’s blood and other bodily fluids.
A person can also become infected if broken skin comes into contact with a victim’s soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles.
Symptoms of Ebola include the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
These are usually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding.
If a person is in an area affected by the outbreak, or has been in contact with a person known or suspected to have Ebola, they should seek medical help immediately.