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The deadly Ebola virus has reached epidemic proportions in Africa. As of today, people in four countries have fallen ill with the virus that has no cure.

What causes Ebola?

Ebola is caused by a virus, which means that antibiotics will not kill the virus, nor will they cure its symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

People with Ebola become very ill with severe fevers, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and bleeding into internal organs. Unlike a mild viral illness, the symptoms of Ebola are severe and lead to death in the majority of cases. Treatment is aimed at supporting a person until their own immune system can fight the virus. In the meantime, we give IV fluids, manage pain and fever, and maintain cardiovascular support.

How do you catch Ebola?

In order to catch Ebola, you must have direct contact with the infected body fluids of a sick person. You cannot catch it from someone who has been infected but has not yet begun to show symptoms. You cannot catch it through the air, and you cannot catch it from contaminated food. There are zero cases of people being infected while in the United States. The two patients who were transported to Atlanta were infected and fell ill before returning home to the US.

What’s being done to stop the spread of Ebola?

Ebola spreads because people lack the basic medical supplies we take for granted in the United States, such as surgical gloves, chlorine bleach, and access to clean water. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has recommended that all unessential travel to Ebola-stricken regions be limited. Similarly, those countries affected are screening all outgoing passengers for fever prior to letting anyone board an airline.

Emergency rooms across the US are on alert for any ill patients that report travel to one of those countries affected.

Should I be worried?

Ebola is a big deal, but for the average American citizen, the risk is virtually non-existent. Worry about the flu, or about acquiring measles instead. Your risk for those are much higher.

Comments

  1. I think I saw on the news last night that there has been 1 reported case in the US- Dallas, Tx if I’m not mistaken. So scary!

    Reply
  2. I watched as the two American doctors infected with Ebola were released from Emory in Atlanta. It was very heartwarming to hear them speak and hear about their experience. This is such a horrible virus and we should be thankful that we live in a country with excellent medical care. Thank goodness 2 of our own were able to recover from the virus.

    Reply

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