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.
Ebola and Marburg virus diseases are rare but often deadly diseases that are caused by the Ebola or Marburg virus. A person who is sick with one of these viruses can spread the infection to others. These are known as hemorrhagic viruses, because they can cause severe bleeding.
These viruses started in Africa, and that is where most cases of the disease have happened. Infections have occurred in other parts of the world when people with the disease traveled there.
For the most up-to-date news about the Ebola outbreak, check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or call them at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
The first symptoms usually feel like the flu. They include:
You may also have:
The symptoms appear suddenly from 2 to 21 days after you are exposed to the virus. But most people see symptoms in 8 to 10 days.
How a human first got one of these viruses is not known. Most experts think a person got the virus from an animal.
These viruses can be spread among people through direct contact with:
You cannot catch the Ebola or Marburg virus just by breathing the same air as an infected person. For the virus to spread to you, body fluids from an infected person have to enter your body. The virus can enter your body through broken skin (even tiny cuts you cannot see) or mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth.
People infected with the virus cannot spread it until they have symptoms.
There is no medicine that cures an Ebola or Marburg virus infection. You will be treated in a hospital and separated from other patients. Treatment may include:
How well or fast you recover depends on how strong your immune system is and the quality of care you get.
If you have symptoms of the illness, do not go to a health facility without calling first. Calling first will help the health care team take better care of you and protect others from the illness.
Call a doctor now if:
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 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.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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