How Ebola attacks cells?

We all hear about Ebola being a deadly disease, but what really makes it so. Let’s try and understand how ebola attacks the cells within the body which in turn leads to organ failure and then exigency


The Ebola virus is a highly aggressive virus that is transmitted through bodily contact with an infected, symptomatic individual.

The Ebola virus enters the body primarily through direct contact of mucous membranes like the eyes or through abrasions in the skin.

When inside the body the virus fuses with tissue cells, invades them and releases its genetic content into the cell.

This is similar to many viruses wherein the viral RNA uses the host cells to generate copies of itself.

The genetic material takes over the cell machinery to replicate itself; new copies of the virus are formed, released into the system and dispersed.

This also causes the cells to explode, sending infectious particles flying

Ebola then overpowers the immune system; the very cells that are meant to fight infection are used as carriers to spread infection to other body parts, including liver, spleen, kidneys and brain.

The virus attacks almost every organ and tissue in the human body.

The cell explosions caused by the virus lead to an overwhelming inflammatory reaction.

This is what causes sudden flu like symptoms that are the first signs of Ebola.

The video has been medically reviewed by:


Dr. Ian M Mackay – Virologist

Dr Ian M Mackay - Virologist

Dr. Ian M Mackay is a virologist with over 20 years of research experience. He completed his Ph.D at The University of Queensland. Ian has published more than 70 papers and over a dozen book chapters and is an Editor for several scientific journals. His virology interests include respiratory viruses, virus:virus interactions, virus detection and discovery, emerging viruses, teaching, writing and leveraging social media to inform and educate.


Dr Vivek Nangia – Interventional Pulmonologist

Dr Vivek Nangia

Dr. Vivek Nangia is a qualified Interventional Pulmonologist with over 15 years of experience. He has done his MD in Respiratory Medicine (India) and Diploma in Interventional Pulmonology (Spain). He is amongst the pioneers to conduct various Bronchoscopic Interventions and Medical Thoracoscopy in Delhi.
He is also one of the very few qualified Infectious Diseases Specialists in the entire country, having successfully completed first a Diploma and then M.Sc in Infectious Diseases from London University, UK . On the completion of his M.Sc in Infectious Diseases, he was felicitated by “Her Royal Highness Princess Royal” (member of the British Royal Family).