Top 10 Things You Really Need to Know About Ebola
The Kane County Health Department is sharing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website in order to keep citizens well informed about the Ebola epidemic.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the further spread of Ebola within the United States.
Latest CDC Outbreak Information
Updated December 4, 2014
Top 10 Things You Really Need to Know About Ebola
(1) You can’t get Ebola from a handshake or a hug.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids from a person sick with Ebola. Direct contact means that blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) from an infected person (alive or dead) have touched another person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or an open cut or wound.
(2) Ebola is only spread from one person to another once symptoms begin.
Symptoms of Ebola appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days (average 8 to 10 days) after being exposed. A person infected with Ebola cannot spread it to others until symptoms begin.
(3) The Ebola outbreak is not affecting the safety of airline travel.
Airline travelers in the United States are extremely unlikely to become infected with Ebola. All travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Mali, arrive at one of five airports in the United States where entry screening by Customs and Border Protection and CDC is taking place.
(4) Ebola is not airborne.
Ebola is not a respiratory disease and is not spread through the airborne route. There is no evidence that Ebola is spread by coughing or sneezing. Ebola might be spread through large droplets (splashes or sprays) but only when a person is very sick. That’s why hospital workers must wear personal protective equipment to stay safe around people with Ebola.
(5) If you’re feeling sick, think flu not Ebola.
Although flu and Ebola have some similar symptoms, Ebola is a rare disease, particularly in the United States. Flu is very common. To date, four cases of Ebola have been detected in the United States, and two of those were imported from West Africa. Every year in the United States, millions of people are infected with flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and tens of thousands die from flu. Unless you have had direct contact with someone who is sick with Ebola, your symptoms are most likely caused by flu and you do not have Ebola.
(6) Household bleach and other disinfectants kill Ebola.
Household bleach or an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant will kill Ebola.
(7) Your family members, coworkers, and neighbors 7 returning from countries with Ebola outbreaks don’t pose a danger to you and your family.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) from a person sick with Ebola. Not everyone coming from countries with Ebola outbreaks has been in contact with someone who has Ebola. Travelers coming from countries with a large Ebola outbreak will be given a CARE (Check and Report Ebola) kit at the airport to help monitor themselves for Ebola symptoms. In addition, they will be actively monitored, meaning they are checked on at least once a day by public health officials. It’s safe for you and your family to be around people being monitored as long as they do not have signs or symptoms of Ebola.
(8) Mosquitoes are the deadliest insects in the world, but they don’t carry Ebola.
There have been no reports of mosquitoes or other insects transmitting Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have become infected with Ebola virus and spread it. Mosquitoes do carry other organisms, like malaria and West Nile virus, that can make people very sick, and sometimes even cause death.
(9) Food and drinks imported into the United States 9 from West Africa are safe to eat and drink.
To date, no one has been infected with Ebola from foods that are imported into the United States. You can’t get Ebola from food grown or legally purchased in the United States.
(10) Your dog or cat is not spreading Ebola.
There have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals. Because the risk of an Ebola outbreak spreading rapidly in the United States is very low, the risk to pets is also very low.
- December 4, 2014 – 21-Day Investigation of Ebola Patient’s Direct Contacts in Guinea[PDF – 1 page]
- December 4, 2014: Information for Airports
- December 4, 2014: NIOSH Ebola Questions and Answers for Airport Workers
- December 4, 2014: Updated Case Counts
- December 3, 2014: Factsheet: CDC’s Ebola Response Team