• What should we know about Ebola?

    Friday October 10, 2014

    EBOLA(This information was obtained from the CDC website: www.cdc.gov)

    Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

    Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus.

    A severe, often fatal disease, Ebola can be spread in several ways to others: through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with a sick person's blood or body fluids or objects that have been contaminated with infected body fluids. Ebola symptoms usually begin after an incubation period ranging from 2 days to 21 days.

    Symptoms of Ebola include:

    • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
    • Severe headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Weakness
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

    Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

    Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

    Transmission

    When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

    • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
    • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
    • infected animals
    • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

    Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.

    During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and gloves and eye protection.

    Once someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. However, Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. People who recover from Ebola are advised to abstain from sex or use condoms for 3 months.

    Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospital

    Standard, contact, and droplet precautions are recommended for management of hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola virus disease.

    How do I protect myself against Ebola?

    If you must travel to an area affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak, protect yourself by doing the following:

    • Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
    • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids.
    • Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
    • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
    • Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
    • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5°F/ 38.6°C) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
      • Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.

    For general information about Ebola, please use the links below:

     This information was obtained from the CDC website.

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