I’ve been hearing about Ebola in the news. What is it? Should I be worried about catching it?
Ebola is in the news lately because there is an outbreak occurring in four countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. There have been more than 1,600 cases and about 880 deaths in the outbreak. It doesn’t pose a significant risk for the general public in America, however.
|Graphic courtesy CDC|
Symptoms of Ebola can include fever, headache, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting and abnormal bleeding. There is no cure. However, early health care including hydration can increase the chance for survival.
The people most at risk for Ebola are health care workers who care for infected patients. In Atlanta, doctors at Emory University Hospital will be caring for two American patients with Ebola who caught the disease in Africa and are being transported here. The doctors will be using practices such as isolation to prevent the spread of the disease to health workers and other hospital patients. The hospital has a special isolation unit to treat patients who are exposed to serious infectious diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also working to make sure that Ebola is not carried to the U.S. via travelers, assisting with screening and education, providing guidance to plane personnel and advising Americans not to travel to the affected countries.
So, in short, if you’re a member of the general public here in the U.S., you don’t really have to be worried about catching Ebola. You’re much more likely to catch the flu.
For more information, read CDC’s Q&A on Ebola.
To assist public health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak, APHA has made the Ebola and Marburg virus chapter of its Control of Communicable Diseases Manual available for download for free.*
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