October 07, 2014

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of four viruses (Ebolavirus genus) that causes disease in humans.  Ebola infection is associated with fever of greater than 101.5F or 38.6C, and additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomitting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage.  Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, sweat, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola or contact with objects (such as needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with these fluids.  Ebola is not spread through air or water.  The main source of spread is through human-to-human transmission.  Avoiding contact with infected persons (as well as potentially infected corpses) and their blood and body fluids is of paramount importance.  Persons are not contagious before they are symptomatic.  The incubation period is typically 8-10 days, but can range from 2-21 days.  Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html

Early recognition is critical to controlling the spread of Ebola virus.  If you have traveled to one of the affected West African countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea) and exhibit symptoms, please report to the emergency room immediately.

Persons who have been exposed, but who are asymptomatic, should monitor their health for the development of fever or symptoms for 21 days after the last exposure.  Guidelines for monitoring persons who have been exposed to Ebola are availbale at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/monitoring-and-movement-of-persons-with-exposure.html

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