What Are the Similarities and Differences Between COVID 19 and Ebola Virus?
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COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences

Written by 
Dr. Leona Dafni. M
 and medically  reviewed by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Education: MBBS, MD

Professional Bio: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar is an Internal Medicine specialist and Pulmonologist. He completed his MBBS at M. P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, MD at PDU Medical College, Rajkot. He has 13 years of ... 

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Published on Jul 25, 2023   -  4 min read


This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.


COVID-19 and Ebola are two deadly diseases that showed a contagious outspread and severe mortality rate when they failed to contain the disease. Almost over the last few decades, there has been a consistent, steady increase in outbreaks of such infectious diseases and, in reciprocation, affecting the entire world's economy. Among all the disease outbreaks, sixty percent are zoonotic (diseases originating from wildlife infecting human beings). In this case, both Ebola and COVID-19 had an incidence of zoonotic origin where the causes for both Ebola and covid originated from bats. Furthermore, Ebola and COVID-19 had similar effects on the upper respiratory tract and caused temperature rise. This article aims to discuss the similarities and differences engaged during the outbreak.

What Is an Ebola Virus Disease?

The Ebola virus disease is a highly deadly infectious disease that was seen to occur mainly in the African continent. The emergence of this disease was considered to be due to the spread of the Ebola virus from fruit-eating bats and infected animals to humans. The Ebola virus disease is highly contaminant and fatal and requires proper identification and extreme isolation. Earlier this disease had an initial outbreak seen between the years 1979 to 1994 and a recent incidence in 2018, which caused chaos among the people of that region because of its potentially harmful effects on humans. Until today, around five different types of Ebola virus strains have been diagnosed, making it important to establish the right diagnostic and treatment approach.

How Does Ebola Virus Disease Spread?

The virus is said to be originating from fruit-eating bats and is known to spread to humans through blood, organ, or body fluids through infected animals. In humans, the Ebola virus is transmitted from person to person in contact with any body fluids, organs, blood, or even through cross-contamination by infected people. This contagious viral infection quickly spreads through objects like needles or infected linens. The incubation period of ebola is around 2 to 21 days, with an average output of symptoms between eight to ten days.

The spread of the Ebola virus is not likely seen in patients with a recent history of infection or people who do not show symptoms. However, the infection spreads post-infection through body fluids like blood, semen, saliva, vaginal discharge, and breast milk.

How Is Ebola Virus Seen Clinically?

The patients show a fatality rate of 25 to 90 percent. The clinical symptoms in patients are seen after two to three weeks post-infection. The symptoms develop and worsen day by day over the period. Ebola shows flu-like symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools, idiopathic bleeding, and body pain such as muscle pain, joint pain, stomach pain, red eyes, skin rashes, weakness, fatigue, and constant hiccups.

To Whom Is Ebola Infection Seen Commonly Affecting?

Ebola is a highly contagious disease, and people who are more prone to infection are travelers and health care workers, people who are in close contact with Ebola-infected patients, their family members, and the public who do not follow precautionary protocols and have been in close contact with the Ebola patients. Ebola virus infection commonly infects young children and pregnant women. When brought at a later stage of the disease, it becomes very complicated to treat or cure the disease.

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral infection causing respiratory diseases caused by a new SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus strand called the SARS-CoV-2. This disease was first identified in 2019 in China and has had a global outspread. It is seen infecting people of all age groups with mild to moderate symptoms, but one among the few needs' severe hospitalization.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

COVID-19 is known to be originating from fruit-eating bats through contamination infecting humans. The spread occurs from person to person, especially as an upper respiratory tract infection and contamination. The spread occurs when a nearby person speaks or coughs as an aerosol spread. It can also spread when one comes in contact with the infected droplets through the hands or nose. With current research programs conducted on COVID-19, it is seen that patients showing an incidence of infection but are asymptomatic are still prone to spread infections to other people.

How Is COVID-19 Seen Clinically?

COVID-19 has an incubation period of two weeks, around two to fourteen days from the onset of infection. Although in most cases, the infection tends to show no or very mild symptoms like cough or fever. In severe cases, it causes significant difficulty breathing, requiring hospitalization and constant monitoring. The clinical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, headache, chills, sore throat, tiredness, cough, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, body or muscle pain, and blood in sputum.

To Whom Is COVID-19 Seen Commonly Affecting?

COVID-19 commonly affects families of the infected persons, people who are in close contact with the infected person, healthcare workers, public welfare and front-line workers, and family members or people near the healthcare or public and front-line workers like police officers, ambulance drivers, etc. working with COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 affects people of every age group. Still, people of older age and with medical health issues like diabetes, breathing problems, heart disease, auto-immune conditions, etc., are at more risk of developing COVID-19 as their body shows a compromised immune system. However, the recovery rate and prognosis of COVID-19 in infants and children are excellent.


In conclusion, the above article gives an idea and knowledge about the types, origin, nature of the cause, spread, and clinical symptoms of COVID-19 and Ebola viruses. Although both viruses are said to be fatal and cause severe side effects in patients, both these viruses are highly potential to cause an epidemic or pandemic outburst that may lead to major medical and financial crises around the world. Knowledge about the disease, its possible causes, the structure of pathogens causing it, clinical symptoms, and ways to treat it is significant to prevent such harmful outbreaks. However, the advances in science, medicine, and technologies combined effectively established ways for the prevention, management, and containment of both ebola and COVID-19.

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Last reviewed at:
25 Jul 2023  -  4 min read

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


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