What is Ebola?
Ebola, officially known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe disease caused by the Ebola virus that was first recognized in Africa in 1976.
Prior to the recent cases in Texas, Ebola had not caused disease in the United States. In 1990, researchers in Virginia and Texas were infected with a type of Ebola virus from contact with imported monkeys, according to the CDC. Outbreaks have occurred in African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Uganda and the Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the CDC.
There currently is no cure for Ebola. Patients with Ebola are treated with supportive therapy, which includes balancing their fluids, maintaining their oxygen levels and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections, according to the CDC. Up to 90 percent of people who are infected with Ebola die from it, according to the National Institutes of Health.
How are potential patients screened?
The most important question: Travel history
Ask patients: Have you traveled outside the U.S. in the past 30 days? Do you have contracts with healthcare workers in Dallas, TX?
What are the symptoms?
The most important symptom? Fever
Other symptoms to look for:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting and stomach pain
- Some cases of bleeding
How is the Ebola outbreak being monitored?
How is Ebola transmitted?
- Spread by human to human contact of bodily fluids
- Likely carried by fruit bats in West Africa
- Most infectious when found in blood, feces and vomit
- Can be found in breast milk, urine and semen
- Lower transmitted risk in saliva, tears and sweat
- There is no scientific evidence that Ebola can be spread by the airborne route
What Are The Symptoms?
- Ebola is a viral disease, and antibiotics are not helpful
- Common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches and headache
- Fever is the most important symptom. Respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing are not common