The Dallas area was the focus of the national and world media in October 2014 after a patient stricken with Ebola passed away at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. His was the first case confirmed in the United States.
While “hysteria” may be a strong word, the case did cause fear among a lot of people who were worried that a disastrous outbreak would occur.
At Complete Emergency Care, our seasoned emergency physicians would like to share some important facts to help alleviate any concerns you may have regarding the disease.
What Is Ebola?
Ebola virus disease (EVD), also called Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare, deadly disease that has struck several African countries as well as Spain and the U.S. Ebola is extremely dangerous – with a mortality rate of approximately 50% – and attacks its victims with frightening speed. To make matters worse, there is no vaccine.
Ebola Signs and Symptoms
Victims typically experience symptoms anywhere from two to 21 days after being exposed. The length of time it takes depends largely on the strength of a person’s immune system.
Signs and symptoms of Ebola include:
- Stomach pain
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising that occurs suddenly
- Muscle pain and weakness
- A fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
While Ebola is obviously an extremely formidable disease, it is extremely important to note that it cannot be spread through the air. Unlike the flu (which has similar symptoms), Ebola can only be contracted when a person comes in contact with the bodily fluids of a victim.
Some of the ways it can be passed include contact with:
- Breast milk
The Ebola crisis had seemingly passed in the U.S. as of late November 2014, but it was still a major issue in several areas of Africa. Travelers coming into the country from those affected nations are closely monitored for any signs of the disease and immediately isolated should symptoms occur. There is no risk of contracting Ebola through the local water supply or sewer system.
There are several precautions you can take to not only reduce the risk of contracting Ebola, but also the flu, which kills an estimated 50,000 people in the U.S. alone each year. By following these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you can protect yourself and others:
- Always wash your hands with either an alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water.
- If you sneeze or cough, use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth and then securely discard it afterward.
- Thoroughly disinfect surfaces in your home that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, faucet handles, and counter-tops.
- Avoid any sort of close contact with anyone who becomes ill.
Our emergency physicians always follow strict safety measures when treating our patients in order to prevent the spread of any sort of infection. When you come into our facility, you can be 100 percent certain that you will be completely safe.