Ebola physical examination

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Guillermo Rodriguez Nava, M.D. [2]; João André Alves Silva, M.D. [3]


Ebola hemorrhagic fever is commonly associated with fever on physical examination at admission. At advanced stages of the disease, physical examination findings are more pertinent and often include unstable vital signs, such as tachycardia or relative bradycardia, orthostatic hypotension, and tachypnea. Physical examination may also be remarkable for abdominal tenderness and distension, evidence of mucosal or visceral bleeding, and neurological impairment.[1][2][3]

Physical Examination

Appearance of the Patient

The general appearance of the patient depends on the stage of the disease. Typically, patients demonstrate prostration, may be nauseated and vomiting, and less commonly present with signs of hemorrhage, such as epistaxis or gingival bleeding. In later stages of the disease, patients are often brought with convulsions or are in a state of shock, stupor, or coma.[4]



  • High-grade fever is often present in more than 80% of patients. Fever is the most common presenting sign of Ebola virus infection.


Blood Pressure

Respiratory Rate

  • Tachypnea often precedes death during final hours of infection.


Hemorrhagic manifestations tend to occur during the more severe stages of the disease and may include:[1]








  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Feldmann, Heinz; Geisbert, Thomas W (2011). "Ebola haemorrhagic fever". The Lancet. 377 (9768): 849–862. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60667-8. ISSN 0140-6736.
  2. Formenty, Pierre; Hatz, Christophe; Le Guenno, Bernard; Stoll, Agnés; Rogenmoser, Philipp; Widmer, Andreas (1999). "Human Infection Due to Ebola Virus, Subtype Côte d'Ivoire: Clinical and Biologic Presentation". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 179 (s1): S48–S53. doi:10.1086/514285. ISSN 0022-1899.
  3. Gradon J (2000). "An outbreak of Ebola virus: lessons for everyday activities in the intensive care unit". Crit Care Med. 28 (1): 284–5. PMID 10667555.
  4. Borchert, Matthias; Mutyaba, Imaam; Van Kerkhove, Maria D; Lutwama, Julius; Luwaga, Henry; Bisoborwa, Geoffrey; Turyagaruka, John; Pirard, Patricia; Ndayimirije, Nestor; Roddy, Paul; Van der Stuyft, Patrick (2011). "Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreak in Masindi District, Uganda: outbreak description and lessons learned". BMC Infectious Diseases. 11 (1): 357. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-357. ISSN 1471-2334.
  5. Ndambi R, Akamituna P, Bonnet MJ, Tukadila AM, Muyembe-Tamfum JJ, Colebunders R (1999). "Epidemiologic and clinical aspects of the Ebola virus epidemic in Mosango, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995". J Infect Dis. 179 Suppl 1: S8–10. doi:10.1086/514297. PMID 9988156.
  6. Bwaka MA, Bonnet MJ, Calain P, Colebunders R, De Roo A, Guimard Y; et al. (1999). "Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo: clinical observations in 103 patients". J Infect Dis. 179 Suppl 1: S1–7. doi:10.1086/514308. PMID 9988155.
  7. Feldmann H, Geisbert TW (2011). "Ebola haemorrhagic fever". Lancet. 377 (9768): 849–62. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60667-8. PMC 3406178. PMID 21084112.