Know the facts about Ebola:

In the news on a daily basis, we are hearing more and more and with great concern, about  the spread of the Ebola Virus. Watch this Medical Minute Alert to learn more about this deadly virus.

Occuring primarily in the central and west African nations of Sierra Leon,  Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, close to 5000 people as of this writing have been infected with the disease, and of them about 50% have died.  There have been a few cases of American doctors who have treated infected people, returning to the U.S. infected with the virus as well, but for the most part, as of September 17, no one has died from the virus in the United States. Unfortunately that has not been the case for victims in these African nations, and many health workers have succumbed to the deadly virus as well, through contact with infected patients.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a rare but often deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding accompanied by a very high fever. The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected. It is a very serious infection.

How is Ebola Spread?

Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common airborne viruses like colds, influenza, or measles. It often spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat. It then moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often contract the disease.

Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces. You cannot get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.

Could we see an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.?

It is highly unlikely. According to the CDC, as of now there is no significant risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States. There are strong safety measures in place for people who have Ebola and are brought to the U.S. for treatment.