What Exactly is Ebola?

The American Association for Respiratory Care tells us the first case of Ebola outside of Africa was reported in Dallas, Texas earlier this year. Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low.

The virus is spread from human to human by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who has been infected with Ebola. Needles and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus can be a source of transmission as well. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, food or mosquitoes. It can be spread by infected animals.

First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function. The symptoms will not show up right after exposure, most people show signs and symptoms around the eighth to tenth day after exposure.

image144The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.”