One case of Ebola infection has been confirmed in Dallas County in a traveler from Liberia. This fact sheet addresses some frequently asked questions about illnesses from Ebola. Information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ebola-factsheet.pdf
What is Ebola and what are the symptoms of illness from Ebola? (updated 10/17/2014 per the CDC)
Ebola is a rare and severe disease caused by infection with the Ebola virus. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola but the average is 8 to 10 days. Signs and symptoms of illness from Ebola typically include: fever (greater than 38.6°C or 100.4°F), severe headache, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
How does someone become infected with Ebola?
Infection with Ebola can only be spread to others by:
- Directly touching blood or body fluids (including feces, saliva, urine, or vomit) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
- Directly touching objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola or infected animals.
Ebola is NOT spread through the air or water.
A person infected with Ebola IS NOT contagious until symptoms appear.
What treatment is available for Ebola?
Currently there are no specific vaccines or medicines (such as antiviral drugs) that can prevent or treat against Ebola. Only symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear.
How were the students who were possibly exposed to the Ebola virus identified and how are they being monitored?
The children and adults who were determined to have possibly been in contact with the patient with Ebola are being monitored daily for 21 days by the health department. Their health is being closely observed for appearance of symptoms of Ebola. Any close contacts that develop a fever or illness symptoms will be isolated and medically evaluated. Persons who remain healthy after 21 days are not at risk for Ebola and can stop monitoring for fever.
Is it safe for my child to attend school?
Your child is not at risk for Ebola while attending school. There is a possible risk for Ebola only if you come into contact with a person ill with Ebola. The eight Dallas schoolchildren who may have had contact with the ill patient were not sick when they attended school. They are currently at their homes simply to facilitate close monitoring of symptoms for the remainder of 21 days.