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What You Need to Know about Ebola

You’ve probably heard about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and we understand you may be concerned. The good news is that the risk of Ebola spreading in the United States is very low, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you’re interested in learning more about Ebola, check out these facts and information that medical and public health experts are sharing about the disease.

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What is Ebola? Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus that can only be transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids from someone who is already infected. Signs and symptoms typically include fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F), severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

View the CDC Ebola Fact Sheet here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ebola-factsheet.pdf

Ebola is transmitted only by physical contact

The CDC confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States on Sept. 30, 2014. Here are some facts they are sharing about Ebola in the U.S.

  • You can’t get Ebola through air, water or food.
  • You can only get Ebola from touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick or has died from Ebola; touching contaminated objects, like needles; or touching infected animals, their blood or other body fluids or their meat.
  • You can only get Ebola from an infected person when that person has symptoms of the disease.

Learn more about Ebola here: www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

The risk in the U.S. is very low

According to the CDC, Ebola poses no substantial risk to the U.S. general population, and any U.S. hospital with appropriate infection disease control plans, isolation and staffing can handle a patient with Ebola.

  • The 2014 Ebola epidemic is affecting multiple countries in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.
  • Ebola poses no significant risk to the United States.
  • The U.S. public health and medical systems have prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola, according to the CDC. Learn more here: www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

The health system is working together

The medical community and public health officials are working together now to prepare for and respond if necessary to an Ebola outbreak. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is monitoring the situation in the U.S., getting up-to-date information from experts and sharing that information with our provider community.

How to get help

If you suspect that you may have Ebola, call your local health department who will guide you through what to do next. Tennesseans with questions about the disease may call a toll-free number to obtain accurate, timely information: 1-877-857-2945.

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