Questions and Answers on Ebola

by Admin

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 facilities 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, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, 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:

I am a U.S. resident experiencing some flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, headache, muscle aches). How do I know if I have seasonal influenza or Ebola?

Seasonal influenza and Ebola virus infection can cause some similar symptoms. However, of these viruses, your symptoms are most likely caused by seasonal influenza. Influenza is very common. Millions of people are infected, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from flu each year. In the United States, fall and winter is the time for flu. While the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary, outbreaks often begin in October and can last as late as May. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February. Information about current levels of U.S. flu activity is available in CDC's weekly FluView report.

In West Africa

CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) is working with airlines, airports, and ministries of health to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in the affected areas. This includes:

Assessing the ability of Ebola-affected countries and airports to conduct exit screening,
Assisting with development of exit screening protocols,
Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate PPE use, and
Training in-country staff to provide future trainings.
During Travel

CDC works with international public health organizations, other federal agencies, and the travel industry to identify sick travelers arriving in the United States and take public health actions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Airlines are required to report any deaths onboard or ill travelers meeting certain criteria to CDC before arriving into the United States, and CDC and its partners determine whether any public health action is needed. If a traveler is infectious or exhibiting symptoms during or after a flight, CDC will conduct an investigation of exposed travelers and work with the airline, federal partners, and state and local health departments to notify them and take any necessary public health action. When CDC receives a report of an ill traveler on a cruise or cargo ship, CDC officials work with the shipping line to make an assessment of public health risk and to coordinate any necessary response.

In the United States

CDC has staff working 24/7 at 20 Border Health field offices located in international airports and land borders. On October 27, CDC’s public health authorities began active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. These travelers are now arriving to the United States at one of five airports where entry screening is being conducted by Customs and Border Protection and CDC. Active post-arrival monitoring means that travelers without febrile illness or symptoms consistent with Ebola will be followed up daily by state and local health departments for 21 days from the date of their departure from West Africa. CDC staff are ready 24/7 to investigate cases of ill travelers on planes and ships entering the United States.

CDC works with partners at all ports of entry into the United States to help prevent infectious diseases from being introduced and spread in the United States. CDC works with Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, state and local health departments, and local Emergency Medical Services staff.

Relatively few of the approximately 350 million travelers who enter the United States each year come from these countries. Most people who become infected with Ebola are those who live with or care for people who have already caught the disease and are showing symptoms.

What do I do if I’m returning to the U.S. from the area where the outbreak is occurring?
After you return, pay attention to your health.

Monitor your health for 21 days if you were in an area with an Ebola outbreak, especially if you were in contact with blood or body fluids, items that have come in contact with blood or body fluids, animals or raw meat, or facilities where Ebola patients are being treated or participated in burial rituals.
Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms before you go to the office or emergency room. Advance notice will help your doctor care for you and protect other people who may be in the office.

CDC currently does not recommend that travelers avoid visiting other African countries. Although spread to other countries is possible, CDC is working with the governments of affected countries to control the outbreak. Ebola is a very low risk for most travelers – it is spread through direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of a sick person, so travelers can protect themselves by avoiding sick people and facilities in West Africa where patients with Ebola are being treated.

In the United States
Are there any other cases of people in the U.S. getting Ebola?

Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. On September 30, 2014, CDC confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola (the index case) to be diagnosed in the United States in a man who had traveled from West Africa to Dallas, Texas, and later sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing symptoms consistent with Ebola. That patient passed away of Ebola on October 8.

Two healthcare workers who had cared for the index patient at Texas Health Presbyterian tested positive for Ebola on October 10 and 15, respectively. Both of these healthcare workers have recovered and were discharged from the hospital.

On October 23, a medical aid worker who volunteered in Guinea, one of the three West African nations experiencing an Ebola epidemic, was hospitalized in New York City with Ebola. The diagnosis was confirmed by CDC on October 24. The patient is in isolation in a New York City hospital, and public health officials are investigating and conducting contact tracing.

CDC and public health officials in Texas, New York, and Ohio are working to identify people who have had close personal contact with these patients, and healthcare professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.

Is there a danger of Ebola spreading in the U.S.?

Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low. We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms. The U.S. public health and medical systems have had prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola. In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States.


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