(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
Ebola is a disease caused by an RNA virus called Zaire ebolavirus is one of the five such viruses. The one from Phillipines does not kill people. The gruesome fact about Ebola is that is leads to organ failure and a lot of bloodshed: you expel blood through your mouth, eyes, ears.
It has been calculated that 90% of the Ebola virus patients die. With proper care 57% of the patients die. Proper care = allowing the blood to clot, giving blood perfusions, hydrating the patient.
Now comes that hard question: is it contagious? Not nearly as bad as the influenza or tuberculosis. More people dies from AIDS, measles or yellow fever than from Ebola.
Ebola spreads int he same way HIV spreads: through bodily fluids. That mean that it spreads through blood, saliva, semen, urine, poop, vomit or through un-sterilized syringes. If any of these fluids comes in contact with the mucus membranes of the mouth or eye or with an open cut, then you get infected.
So, Ebola is not that contagious, but it is deadly. People in Africa get infected when they come in contact with the bodies of dead people or when they prepare meat from monkeys infected with Ebola. If you prepare such infected meat and cut yourself, then you get infected.