What You Need to Know about Ebola

What You Need to Know about Ebola

The Ebola Virus

Author: Emergency Preparedness Staff/Wednesday, October 22, 2014/Categories: Ebola, Home Page, Emergency Preparedness/Response, NEWS

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A person infected with Ebola can't spread the disease until symptoms appear

The time from exposure to when signs or symptoms of the disease appear (the incubation period) is 2 to 21 days, but the average time is 8 to 10 days. Signs of Ebola include: 

  • Fever (higher than 101.5ºF) 
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bloody and body fluids 

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with

  • Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
  • Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or bloody fluids of a person sick with Ebola.

Ebola is not spread through air, water, or food.

Protect yourself against Ebola

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness. 

To protect yourself from Ebola

  • DO wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do NOT touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
  • Do NOT handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person's blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment. 
  • Do NOT touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola. 

What to do if you are exposed to Ebola

If you have traveled to an area with an Ebola outbreak or had close contact with a person sick with Ebola, you may be at risk if you:

  • Had direct contact with blood or body fluids or items that came into contact with blood or body fluids from a person with Ebola. 
  • Touched bats or nonhuman primates (like apes or monkeys) or blood, fluids, or raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Went into hospitals where Ebola patients were being treated and had close contact with the patients. 
  • Touched the body of a person who died of Ebola.  

After you return, check for signs and symptoms of Ebola for 21 days 

  • You will be connected to a health department in your final destination.

  • A public health worker will ask you to take your temperature twice a day and watch for Ebola symptoms like severe headache, fatigue (feeling very tired), muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

If you get sick with a fever or other Ebola symptoms

  • Get medical care right away
  • Do NOT go out into public until you talk to a public health worker.

  • Do what your public health worker told you to do if you got sick.

  • If you are not able to speak with someone right away call:
    • Your state or local health department
    • CDC (1-800-232-4636)
    • 911 if it is a medical emergency and tell them you were in a country with Ebola

For the latest information check out the CDC's website at : http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html 

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Emergency Preparedness Staff

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