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Ebola is one of the most deadly viral diseases known. Cases have been confirmed in Guinea and Liberia in West Africa. Here is what you need to know about the disease:

1. What is the Ebola virus disease?

The Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease in people. Up to 90% of people who contract Ebola die. Outbreaks primarily occur in remote villages in Central and West Africa near rainforests.

MORE: As Ebola spreads in Africa, how worried should West be?

2. How does it spread?

Ebola is passed through close contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva and sweat, of an infected person or animal.

Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. The disease can incubate in people for up to 21 days before they show symptoms, but the infected person cannot pass on the disease during that period. The disease can be transmitted through sex, as well.

3. What are the symptoms?

Ebola virus disease often is accompanied by a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. People also experience vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases internal and external bleeding.

Several west African countries geared up on Friday to tackle killer haemorraghic fevers including Ebola, which has claimed more than 80 lives in Guinea and just seen suspect cases emerge in Mali, after Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 01:14 Newslook

4. How can it be prevented?

The is no vaccine against it and there is no known cure. Several vaccines are being tested.

5. Who is most at risk?

Many who get infected are health workers caring for the sick.

6. What are the origins of Ebola virus?

The Ebola virus was first discovered in two outbreaks in Congo — then known as Zaire — and Nzara, Sudan, in 1976.

Sources: USA TODAY research; World Health Organization

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