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Ebola virus is the sole member of the Zaire ebolavirus species, and the most dangerous of the five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Four of the five known ebolaviruses cause a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates, known as Ebola virus disease. The virus and its species were both originally named for Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), the country where it was first described, and was at first suspected to be a new “strain” of the closely related Marburg virus; the virus (but not its species) was renamed to “Ebola virus” in 2010 to avoid confusion. The species is a virological taxon species included in the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae (whose members are called Filovirus), order Mononegavirales.1 The Zaire ebolavirus species is also the type species (reference or example species) for ebolavirus. Its natural reservoir is believed to be bats, particularly fruit bats, and it is primarily transmitted between humans and from animals to humans, through body fluids.

Because of its high mortality rate, EBOV is also listed a select agent, World Health Organization Risk Group 4 Pathogen (requiring Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment), a U.S. National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A Priority Pathogen, U.S. CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A Bioterrorism Agent, and listed as a Biological Agent for Export Control by the Australia Group.

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: Ebola virus is susceptible to sodium hypochlorite, lipid solvents, phenolic disinfectants, peracetic acid, methyl alcohol, ether, sodium deoxycholate, 2% glutaraldehyde, 0.25% Triton X-100, β-propiolactone, 3% acetic acid (pH 2.5), formaldehyde and paraformaldehyde, and detergents such as SDS

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: Ebola are moderately sensitive to heat and can be inactivated by heating for 30 minutes to 60 minutes at 60 °C, boiling for 5 minutes, gamma irradiation and/or UV radiation.

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days 6 Lipid solvents are substances dissolving oil and fat, and includes soap and alkaline substances like ash (pH 9.5-12 when new and dry). Clean ash is in some countries promoted as a cheap alternative to soap for hand washing, but may dissolve too much lipids from the skin too, if oil is not applied after washing. Ash could be used on handles and toilet floors, entrances to houses, and is used for dishwashing.7