Ebola Virus Disease

NYSDOH Ebola Palm Card

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Ebola is a severe, often fatal, viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Even though a few cases of Ebola have recently been diagnosed in the U.S., Ebola poses very low risk to the U.S. population. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in Africa, near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Currently, there is a large Ebola outbreak in three West African countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

You cannot get Ebola from a person who is not sick or not showing symptoms.

  • If you traveled to one of the affected countries, you are at risk only if you had close contact with a person who was sick from Ebola (through medical care or funeral rites), without taking special precautions.
  • You are only at risk of getting sick with Ebola for 21 days after you were exposed to an ill person.
  • If you returned over 21 days ago, you are not at risk of getting sick from Ebola.

The Greene County Public Health Department is working closely with local first responders and health care providers to provide guidance, information and tracking of potential cases. Greene County is prepared in the event of an Ebola case identified and Greene County Public Health Department will continue to provide guidance and support for the first responders and health care providers who would be on the ground to deal with any potential cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of Ebola and how soon do they appear?

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the disease, but the average is 8 to 10 days. Symptoms of Ebola include:

  • Fever
  • Severe Headache
  • Joint and Muscle Aches
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Unexplained Hemorrhage (Bleeding)

What should I do to make sure I don’t have Ebola?

If you returned from your travel less than 21 days ago and are not sick, you should take your temperature two times a day to check for signs of a fever (temperature greater than 101.5°F or 38.6°C). If you get a fever within 21 days of travel in countries affected by Ebola, you should call 911.

How is Ebola transmitted? Facts About Ebola in the U.S.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air. Ebola also cannot be transmitted through water or food (in the U.S.).

How serious is Ebola?

The severity of the disease varies, but over 50% of patients with Ebola have died during past outbreaks. However, early access to appropriate medical care has been shown to be a key factor in recovering from this disease.

How is Ebola treated?

There is no approved medication for Ebola. Treatment focuses on supportive care and may require intensive care unit support. Experimental vaccines and treatments are in development but have not been fully tested for safety or effectiveness in people.

Should I use any special cleaning products or methods in my home, business or building when cleaning body fluids, because of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa?

No. Use normal cleaning products, and always take proper precautions when cleaning any body fluids (such as blood or vomit). If a confirmed case of Ebola results in body fluid contamination outside of a health care facility, the Health Department will assess the site and will arrange for safe clean up by a professional contractor.

Can I get Ebola from my dog or cat?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola.

Additional Information:

New York State has launched a new State information line to answer questions from New Yorkers on Ebola. The info line is free and trained staff will be answering the public’s questions 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The info line number is 1-800-861-2280.

NYS Department of Health: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/ebola/#public

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html

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Last updated: 11/06/2014