U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 54-year-old female asked:

How long is an "ebola" virus alive?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 57 years experience
Ebola: Viruses are not "alive" in the sense that they can live independently. They require a host cell in which they alter the cell's metabolism to create new virus. This will not live very long outside the body unless on moist specimens from an infected individual and is usually transmitted by direct contact with the secretions of the infected patient. Bats have been implicated in transmission.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 53 years experience
Not known for sure: Ebola, like all viruses, is not exactly alive. It depends upon entering advanced cells, taking over the productive machinery and reproducing itself. Most viruses have been tested for length of infectivity outside cells as resistance to moisture, drying, heat, cold, etc. I do not believe such data is there for Ebola, but I would guess it is very sensitive as cases seem to be from direct contact
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Not sure: Ebola virus can remain active in dead carcasses (humans & animals) and 2/3 of Guinea cases were spread when family members washed the bodies of dead before traditional burials. It is also being spread by animals that are eating infected human carcasses. Semen can remain infectious in a survivor for up to 3 months. It can also remain infective on objects that have been contaminated by bodily >
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Provided original answer
fluids (syringes/ needles).
Oct 5, 2014

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

Related questions

A 42-year-old male asked:
4 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
A 47-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
A 32-year-old member asked:
3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
A 63-year-old male asked about a member:
2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
A 37-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer6 doctors weighed in
Last updated Oct 29, 2017
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.