The first case of Ebola has been found in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed on Tuesday. A man who took a commercial flight from Liberia to Dallas and landed on September 20 was officially diagnosed with the disease 10 days later.
The man was visiting relatives in the United States when he started to display symptoms. Because he did not show symptoms on the flight, and in fact passed an Ebola screening before boarding, no one else on the flight is at risk of contracting the disease.
Director of the disease centers, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said at a press conference there is “zero chance” that anyone on the flight was infected.
Even though the risk of multiple people in the United States being infected with Ebola is small, people are still a little panicky. So we’re clearing up some confusion you may have about the disease, and what you can do to avoid it.
- Ebola is a virus that causes an acute, serious illness that is often fatal if left untreated. If treated, survival rates go up dramatically, though the recovery process is long.
- Though the current outbreak in Africa may lead you to believe differently, the Ebola virus is actually extremely rare. Until last year, there had only been about 20 outbreaks of the disease since it was discovered in 1976.
- Ebola is spread through human-to-human transmission through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of people who are infected. It can also be spread through contact with surfaces and materials contaminated with bodily fluids.
- Ebola is NOT spread through the air, water, or skin-to-skin contact such as a handshake.
- Humans with Ebola are not infectious until they show symptoms. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, rash, and in some cases internal and external bleeding.
Essentially, unless you frequently come into contact with the bodily fluids of others, you’re probably not going to contract Ebola. The Ebola patient in Dallas has been isolated, and anyone who came in contact with him while he was infectious will be monitored for symptoms as well. As Dr. Frieden said, “I have no doubt that we’ll stop this in its tracks in the U.S.”
Information about Ebola from the World Health Organization