The name Ebola is a French corruption of Legbala, its name in the Ngbandi language which means "white water". During the Belgian administration these names were interchangeable along with the French names Eau Blanche and rarely L'Ébola.
In 1976, Ebola virus (EBOV) was first identified in Yambuku, 60 miles from the Ebola River, but Professor Peter Piot decided to name it after the river so that the town would not be associated with the disease's stigma. Thus, the river is eponymous to the terms Ebola virus, Ebolavirus, and Ebola virus disease (usually referred to as simply "Ebola"). Despite afterwards discovering that the Ebola River was not in close proximity to the Yambuku village, the virus name was preserved.