EBOLA VIRUS INFORMATION
The following information on the Ebola virus was provided by the CDC webiste. For more information please go directly to the CDC's website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html
What is Ebola? Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common.
How is Ebola transmitted? Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Can Ebola be transmitted through the air? No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.
Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water? No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness. It is not a water-borne illness.
Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn't have any symptoms? No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.
Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.? No.
What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane? CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire. CDC is also surging support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.
Does UCCS Student Health Center have a plan for dealing with patients who have recently traveled from these affected countries and now may have symptoms of Ebola? UCCS Student Health Center is working closely with the Office of International Affairs. We have posted this information on our website including information about the signs and symptoms of the disease. We have done education with our medical providers and are ready to assist patients who have traveled from the affected countries and may have early symptoms of the disease. We work closely with the local and state health departments as well as local hospitals and will transfer any patient to the hospital for follow up care and diagnosis of the disease.
What is CDC doing in the U.S.? On the remote possibility that an ill passenger enters the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, isolation. CDC has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.
What about ill Americans with Ebola who are being brought to the U.S. for treatment? How is CDC protecting the American public? CDC has very well-established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the United States. These procedures cover the entire process -- from patients leaving their bedside in a foreign country to their transport to an airport and boarding a non-commercial airplane equipped with a special transport isolation unit, to their arrival at a medical facility in the United States that is appropriately equipped and staffed to handle such cases. CDC's role is to ensure that travel and hospitalization is done to minimize risk of spread of infection and to ensure that the American public is protected. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during SARS.
What does the CDC's Travel Alert Level 3 mean to U.S. travelers? On July 31, the CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them in country.