Ebola Exposure

Ebola Exposure

Is this your symptom?

  • You were exposed to someone diagnosed with Ebola
  • You traveled to or are living in an area with recent cases of Ebola. These are mainly countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone.
  • You have questions about Ebola
  • Ebola Exposure means:
  • You touched a person diagnosed with Ebola. Examples include kissing, hugging, holding hands, and carrying a person. If you are health care provider this includes performing a physical exam.
  • You had contact with blood or body fluids of a person with suspected or proven Ebola.
  • You handled bats or primates (such as apes, monkeys) in countries that have an Ebola outbreak.

Some Basics...

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD or Ebola) is an infection caused by the Ebola virus.
  • It is a rare disease, but the death rate can be around 50%.
  • There have been small outbreaks in Africa since 1976. In 2014, a major outbreak of Ebola started in Guinea in West Africa.
  • On September 30, 2014, the CDC reported the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient got Ebola while in Liberia.
  • The infection is spread human-to-human. The first cases may have come from contact with infected bats or monkeys.

Symptoms

Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days. Symptoms are:

  • Fever over 101.5 F (38.6 C)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache, severe
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Bleeding and bruising

How is it Spread?

Ebola can be spread to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola. Body fluids include breast milk, saliva, semen, stool, sweat, urine, and vomit.
  • Contact with the dead body of a person who died from Ebola.
  • Objects like dirty clothes, bedding, needles and syringes that have blood or body fluid on them.

How is the Ebola virus spread? Ebola can start when infected fluid gets into the eyes, nose or mouth. This mainly happens if infected fluid gets on the hands. Then, the healthy person touches their face with dirty hands. Thus, frequent hand washing is helpful. Rarely, the virus may pass through an open cut on the skin.

People with Ebola do not spread the disease until they become sick and get a fever. Ebola is not spread through body fluid contact with intact skin. Blood or vomit on normal skin is safe if carefully washed off.

In general, coughing and sneezing are not Ebola symptoms. Therefore, Ebola is usually not spread this way. But, a sick person's cough or sneeze may contain the virus in the spray. If the spray gets into the eyes, nose or mouth, it could transmit the disease.

Ebola is not spread in the water nor in food. There is no evidence that it is spread by mosquitoes or other insects.

One can also get Ebola from infected animals, such as bats and primates (apes, monkeys) in countries where there has been an outbreak of Ebola.

What Countries have Ebola Outbreaks?

All patients with Ebola Virus Disease have been linked to countries in and around the West Africa. They have either lived in or have traveled recently to one of these countries.

  • Guinea
  • Liberia
  • Sierra Leone

These countries can change. The CDC website (www.cdc.gov) has the most up-to-date list of countries where Ebola is occurring.

When to Call for Ebola Exposure

Call 911 Now

  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent
  • You feel weak or very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Ebola Exposure in the past 21 days and NO fever or other symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache, vomiting or bleeding/bruising
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Ebola Exposure more than 21 days ago and NO fever or other symptoms
  • Questions about Ebola Virus

Care Advice

Ebola Exposure within Last 21 Days and Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know:
    • You were exposed to Ebola in the last 21 days and now have symptoms.
    • You need to be checked to see if you have Ebola.
  2. Go to the Emergency Room (ER) After You Talk to the ER:
    • You must phone the ER before you go there. You should go to a nearby ER after you call and talk to them. Tell them your symptoms and that you were exposed to Ebola. This way the ER will be ready to take care of you and protect others.
    • The ER is the best place to get testing and treatment.
    • The ER is most prepared to prevent the spread of this infection to others.
  3. Isolation Is Needed:
    • Do Not go to work or school
    • Do Not go to church, child care centers, shopping, or other public places.
    • Avoid close contact with others (hugging, kissing). Do Not shake hands.
  4. Protect Others from Your Body Fluids:
    • Protect others from your blood and other body fluids!
    • Body fluids include breast milk, saliva, semen, stool, sweat, urine, and vomit.
    • Cover any bleeding area with a towel or cloth.
    • Other people should avoid contact with your blood or body fluids. They should not touch you. They should not handle your bedding materials or dirty clothes.

Ebola Exposure within Last 21 Days and No Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know:
    • You were exposed to Ebola but you do not have any symptoms.
    • Since it's been less than 21 days, you still are at risk for getting Ebola. The Ebola infection starts within 21 days following the last exposure.
    • You will need to watch for symptoms until 21 days have passed.
  2. Call the Local Public Health Department Right Away:
    • Call the local public health department right away.
    • If you cannot contact the public health department, call your doctor.
    • This is very important. This must be done to stop the spread of the disease.
  3. Stay at Home, Check Your Temperature:
    • Stay at home until you talk with the public health department or your doctor.
    • They will tell you how much isolation is needed during the 21 days.
    • Check your temperature two times a day. Report any fever or symptoms to the health care person following you.
  4. Go to the Nearest Emergency Room (ER) If:
    • Fever occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Headache occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Unexplained bruising or bleeding occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Important Note: You must phone the ER before you go there. You should go to a nearby ER after you call and talk to them. Tell them your symptoms and that you were exposed to Ebola. This way the ER will be ready to take care of you and protect others.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • You have other questions or concerns

Ebola Exposure Over 21 Days Ago and No Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Symptoms appear 2 to 21 days after the last exposure to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days.
    • If you have not had any of the most common symptoms (fever, abdominal pain, headache, unexplained bleeding) during the 21 days after an exposure, then you should be safe from getting Ebola.
  2. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Fever occurs
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Questions About Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Ebola virus disease (EVD or Ebola) is an infection caused by the Ebola virus.
    • It is a rare disease, but the death rate can be around 50%.
    • There have been small outbreaks in Africa since 1976. In 2014, a major outbreak of Ebola started in Guinea in Western Africa.
    • On September 30, 2014, the CDC reported the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient got Ebola while in Liberia.
    • The infection is spread human-to-human. The first cases may have come from contact with infected bats or monkeys.
  2. Symptoms:
    • Symptoms appear 2 to 21 days after the last exposure to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days.
    • Fever is a common and concerning symptom. After Ebola Exposure, if you have any fever you need to be checked. An oral temperature of 100.0° F (37.8° C) or higher is a fever. If you do not have a thermometer, then fever is a (subjective) sense of feeling too warm.
    • Other symptoms include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, severe headache, muscle pain (myalgia), vomiting, and weakness. Bleeding and bruising are late symptoms.
  3. How it is Spread:
    • Ebola can be spread to others.
    • People with Ebola do not spread the disease until they become sick and get a fever.
    • The Ebola virus can be spread by blood or body fluids (including feces, saliva, semen, urine, vomit) of a person who is sick with Ebola. It can be spread by contaminated objects (like needles and syringes). It can be spread by handling infected animals such as bats and primates (apes, monkeys) in countries that have an Ebola outbreak.
    • Ebola is not spread by coughing or sneezing. It is not spread in the water nor in food. There is no evidence that it is spread by mosquitoes or other insects. Ebola is not spread through body fluid contact with intact skin. Blood or vomit on normal skin is safe if carefully washed off.
  4. What Countries have Ebola Outbreaks?
    • All patients with Ebola have been linked to countries in West Africa. They have either lived in or have traveled to one of these countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
    • If you neither live nor have traveled to one of these countries, your risk of getting Ebola is very low.
    • For the most up-to-date list of countries where Ebola is occurring, go to the CDC website (www.cdc.gov).
  5. Internet Resources
  6. Call Back If:
    • You have other questions.

Treating Fever

  1. For All Fevers:
    • Drink cold fluids to stay hydrated. This replaces fluids lost when you sweat. It improves heat loss through your skin. Adults should drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
    • Dress in one layer of lightweight clothing and sleep with one light blanket.
    • For fevers 100-101°F (37.8-38.3°C), this is the only treatment. You do not need to take fever medicine.
  2. Fever Medicine:
    • For fevers above 101° F (38.3° C) take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
    • They are over-the-counter (OTC) fever drugs. You can buy them at the drugstore.
    • The goal for treating fever is to bring it down to a comfortable level.
    • Fever medicine usually lowers fevers by 2° F (1 - 1.5° C).
    • Use the lowest amount of a drug that makes your fever get better.
    • Acetaminophen is safer than ibuprofen or naproxen in people over 65 years old.
    • Read the instructions and warnings on the package insert for all medicines you take.

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 10/18/2017 1:25:57 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:03 PM

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