IELTS Reading Practice: Ebola

Develop your skills for matching paragraph information for IELTS reading with this reading exercise. Skim read the passage to get the gist of the article. Then spend time reading the questions before you try and locate the answers. The more time you spend analysing the meaning and vocabulary in the questions, the easier it will be. This is a similar level to the academic reading paper.

Reading Passage: Ebola

The questions are listed at the end of the passage. However, because this is a long passage, I have also put the questions at various points in the passage as well ( Q’s).

About Ebola

A) The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

B) The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveller only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveller) to Senegal. The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Qs

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.

C) It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest. Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practised.

D) Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but 2 potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing. Qs

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.

E) Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patient’s blood and body fluids and contaminated surfaces or materials such as clothing and bedding. When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).

Questions 1-6

Which paragraphs contain the following information?

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.


Click below to reveal answers and vocabulary.

  1. D
  2. C
  3. A
  4. E
  5. C
  6. A

Passage taken from WHO

  • acute = critical, serious
  • outbreaks = bursts, epidemics
  • emerged from periods of conflict = come out of a time war or instability
  • fruit bat
  • secretion = discharge, emission
  • contaminated = polluted
  • rehydration = the process of restoring lost water
  • proven = confirmed, sure, certain
  • sterile = germ-free, hygienic, sanitary



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  1. Rachel Woo says

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks very much for your tips. They are really helped. I have a question:
    Which following way is the best way to handle this task (matching information)?

    1. read the first paragraph of text and go through the questions to see which questions are in the first paragraph;
    2. Scan text and locate the first question to answer it, and then do the second question.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    • It is completely up to you. The order you tackle “matching information” questions makes no difference. Always analyse question statements first and take your time thinking about paraphrases and underline keywords. After that, try to locate the information. As I said, tackle the questions in any order.

  2. Hi Liz, Thank you so much for the above tips and practise paper, I got 6/6 in 8 min 🙂 . This is really useful and helping me to boost up confidence. Thanks


    • Good. Confidence in techniques is important. When you feel ready, try applying the techniques to full IELTS reading tests. There’s a free one on the BC IELTS website.

  3. Thanks for the excercise and especially the question 2 explanation because I thought is E. 5/6 was my score and God bless you richly.

  4. Question 6 was tricky haha ,, Was a bit confusing due to the number of paragraphs and the questions being 6 . Really glad i am unraveling more hacks to IELTS Liz … Got 6/6
    Getting better. Thank You Liz for everything

  5. hi
    how 2nd answer is c ? i think it should be e?

    • Paragraph E is about preventing spread, not about explaining spread. Don’t get confused between the two. They are different. It is about how it spreads from one person to another – not how to stop the spread from one person to another.

      • Aasia Kamyab Khan says

        but contract means to shrink then how does this sentence make any sense? I was thinking of contract in the sense of reducing/ shrinking the spread. in that case the answer should be E and not C. Please clarify.

  6. 3/6 🙁

  7. are amazing…Lessons are extremely useful.
    Thanks for all that you do.

  8. got 5/6

  9. I got 6/6 Thank you

  10. Hi Liz,

    Does ‘crossed the species barrier’ mean spreading of the disease from animals to humans?

    This one is tricky.

  11. 3/3

  12. 4/6

  13. Hi Liz,
    what about a B paragraph? Why we can not use it? Can we do that in IELTS exam?

  14. Mam can you please explain 4 qus. Why its answer is E

  15. Ibraheem Azeem says

    I am following you from my first day of IELTS practice. All provided material are really helpful, well explained and boost the level of English to some instant that a person started feeling he can achieve a required band in it.
    I got 6/6 in this test.
    Really thankful to you for putting extra ordinary for students help.
    Ibraheem Azeem

  16. I got 6/6.
    Question 2 was tricky. But I got it right.

  17. I think the answer of second question is E not C. Kindly confirm.

    • Paragraph E is about avoiding getting infected. Sure it mentions the odd bit about how to contract the disease but the focus on not that. Paragraph C is all about how you can get infected: “Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. ” Much more detailed

      • Muhammad Imran says

        Dear Liz, in relevant to Q-2, the focus of query is about the interaction of medical staff with infected EVD patients. Both paragraphs have elaborated preventive measures. How can we prefer paragraph B over paragraph E. I understand that both must be acceptable. Please elaborate.
        With Regards


  18. M.Nikitha reddy says

    Dear liz 5 r crct out of 6 thanks liz.

  19. 5/6! Great passage – trapped in Q#2, misunderstood the meaning of contract.
    Dear Liz,
    Examiners also use “distractors” to trap here like MCQs.

    Many thanks


  20. Camille Martinez says

    Ms. Liz,
    I got 6/6! 🙂
    Thank You for this helpful exercise!

  21. Hi Liz! I am having great difficulties in answering these questions (which paragraph contains this information). It is consuming a lot of time for which I am running out of time at the end of the practice. Please give me some tips for how to answer this type of question spending less time. I am planning to take the test next month but getting disappointed by my performance.
    Thank you.

    • Spend time reading the statements in the questions. You need to underline key words and also predict paraphrases. They you skim your eyes over the passage to locate the information. This is one of the easiest types of questions because it requires very little understanding. You just find the information. Some paragraphs might contains two pieces of information so be aware of that.

  22. Hi Mam,

    Q2 is “how medical staff can ‘contract’ the disease through interaction?”

    Wondering if I m right, Para C states : Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating the people (the way it spreads) and Para E states : Health-care workers should wear face protection and clean, non sterile gown etc..(ways to contract)

    Could you please explain me the question asked or the sense it means ? and the difference between the above mentioned statements

    • It means the way in which the medical staff can catch the disease through working with patients. Paragraph C explains how this process works in great detail. Paragraph E explains the recommendations of clothing to prevent spread. So, E doesn’t actually explain how they catch it, only what they should do as a precaution.

      • Contract means to shorten or to decrease and not to contaminate or to catch .I believe Answer should be E. Precautionary measures are mentioned in In paragraph E .

  23. piyush kumar says

    hello liz
    i ill be giving my second ielts exam inn sept
    and m aiming for 7.5 score
    i have been watching your videos and its has helped me alot
    you have all the information regarding every module,
    but there is only on video for reading .
    i would like to suggest you to make more videos on reading module
    thank you

  24. Muhammad Hassan Mumtaz says

    Hey Liz,
    I randomly found your Videos on Youtube and i think i was lucky to find these.
    I am planning to take test on 5th August 2016. Since i am an accountant and do not have fox working hours i cannot got to school for IELTS coaching. So you are my last resort.
    all i need to ask is the stuff available on your website would be sufficient to prepare of IELTS. Are there any lessons that one needs to buy to have access to the full stuff.


    Muhammad Hassan Mumtaz

  25. Hi, Liz
    I am taking IELTS test on May 19.
    With fewer days in hand, I am learning a lot from your website as well as from Youtube channel.
    Thank you a lot,
    In this passage I answered 5 out of 6, in which I chose Paragraph E as the answer for Q.N 2, because both paragraph talks about medication, patients. etc

    • That question is not about medication, it’s about “medical staff”. And in paragraph C is states: “Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients”. So medical staff = health care workers. You need to spend more time underline the key words in the question to match information correctly. Never try to find the answer until you have spent more time with the question and thinking about the language in the question.

  26. hey liz i got the 2nd and the 4th answers wrong i answered them as e and c respectively…can u just say me where i went wrong in understanding the passage ?

  27. Hello Liz!
    I hope you’re having a great break.
    I have been using your READING sample practice and I always finished at almost 10 minutes in one passage which only has 6 question, knowing that the READING task consist of 40 questions.. I’d like to know whether Im doing good? Or is it a good start?

  28. can u explain for me about heading of paragraph B, I thought the answer for the number 6 is B

  29. Hello, thx for info. See u latter.

  30. Hi Liz,

    we have got both answer A and C twice. Is it understood by default that we can get multiple information in one paragraph? or it would be mentioned clearly in question?

    • Sometimes it will tell you that you can use one paragraph more than once. Sometimes it is obvious so they don’t mention it. For example, there are 5 paragraphs but 6 questions so one must be used twice.
      All the best

  31. hello liz madam.. iam Albert from India..
    Thank you very much for you tips on IELTS .. i recently taken exam although i got
    low mark in Reading but i got 7 in speaking this can possible by watching your speaking tips
    on youtube,, especially part 0 in speaking section..

  32. Hi Liz, my answer in Q2 is E while the correct answer is c. I didn’t read the sentence carefully and get the meaning. I feel bad, I hope I will do better in my IELTS exam this coming Aug 29.

  33. Hi Liz

    But do you consider that preparation on this kind of questions “Academic”, the person will be prepared much better to tackle the General Training reading Test?


    • The question types are the same so all practice will help. But it is important to spend a lot of time focusing on the reading passages from GT IELTS. See official IELTS sites for practice tests.
      All the best

  34. Sharnjeet Singh Jaura says

    Hello Liz,
    Is there any problem in answering the questions of listening or reading in numerical or alphabetic form if the meaning is the same? For instance, the answer of 5th questions is ” TWO” said in the listening or reading, and I also answered it ” TWO”, but in the answer key, it is ” 2 “. So , is there any problem with that? Means my answer would be wrong or right?

  35. Mam thank you soon much

  36. Well thank you soon much mam thanks you “your fluency was amazing” I got a comment by one of ielts examiner

  37. Hi Madam,
    I have done a mistake in my listing test of ielts when examiner asked me what I did last weekend? I told him that I prepared my ielts exam !!and when he asked me do you live in apartment or villa? I answered no I live in a flat! mamm I got nervous look what I have done …. 🙁

    • I think it was fine. Your answers were not a problem. Your score will reflect only your level of vocabulary, grammar, fluency and pronunciation. Wait until your results come.

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