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Ebola infects a wide variety of cell types and the clinical features result indirectly from the immune response. An exaggerated immune response results in septic shock with vasodilation and capillary leak, and widespread expression of tissue factor leads to a consumptive coagulopathy.
After an incubation period of about 8-10 days (during which the patient isn’t infectious) typical viral symptoms develop
- Dry cough
These are followed by gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping) and signs of coagulopathy (petechiae, purpura, bleeding from venepuncture sites and mucosae).
Catastrophic bleeding is less common. The current Guinea strain of Ebola seems not have as many haemorrhagic features as previous outbreaks.