- You or your child were exposed to someone diagnosed with Ebola
- You traveled to or are living in an area with recent cases of Ebola. In 2014, a large Ebola outbreak occurred in West Africa.
- You have questions about Ebola
Ebola Exposure means:
- Touching a person diagnosed with Ebola. Examples include kissing, hugging, or holding hands. Another example is sharing eating or drinking utensils.
- Contact with blood or body fluids of a person with suspected or proven Ebola.
- Handling bats, monkeys or other wild animals from areas where Ebola occurs.
- Ebola is an infection caused by the Ebola virus.
- The infection is spread human-to-human. The first cases may have come from contact with infected bats or monkeys.
- It is a rare disease, but the death rate can be 50% in poor countries. The death rate in US hospitals is about 10%.
- There have been small outbreaks in Africa since 1976.
- In 2014, a major outbreak of Ebola started in Guinea in West Africa.
- On September 30, 2014, the CDC reported the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient caught Ebola in Liberia. He came down with his first symptoms in Dallas, Texas.
Symptoms of Ebola
Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after being exposed to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days. Symptoms are:
- Fever. Fever is usually the first symptom.
- Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Severe headache, weakness or muscle pain.
- Bleeding and bruising are late symptoms.
How Ebola is Spread
- People with Ebola do not spread the disease until they become sick. Infected people are safe to be with during the incubation period. This is the time between exposure and the time a person gets symptoms.
- Ebola patients who have a fever and feel sick can spread the disease. During the first few days of symptoms, it is not very contagious. Most people living in the same home do not catch Ebola. The attack rate for adults is 30%. The attack rate for children is 5%.
- The Ebola virus can be spread in several ways:
- Blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola can spread this illness. Body fluids include spit, urine, vomit, stool, sweat, semen and breast milk. Touching a dead body of an Ebola victim can also transmit the disease.
- Dirty objects with blood or body fluids on them can spread the disease. Examples are dirty clothing, bedding or needles.
- Infected animals (e.g., bats and monkeys) can also spread the disease.
- Mucus membrane contact. Ebola can start if infected fluid gets into the eyes, nose or mouth. This mainly happens if infected fluid gets on the hands. Then, the healthy person then touches their face with dirty hands. Washing the hands often is helpful.
- Skin contact. The virus in blood or body fluids may pass through an open cut. Normal skin is safe if the body fluid is carefully washed off.
- Ebola is not spread in the food supply, tap water or the air. It also is not spread by mosquitoes or other insects.
Countries with Ebola Outbreaks
- Most Ebola patients have been linked to countries in West Africa. These patients have either lived in or traveled to countries there. These countries include Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The risk of getting the illness is highest in countries that have outbreaks now.
- Caregivers and close contacts of Ebola patients can also get the disease.
- But, for most people, your risk of getting Ebola remains very low.