It is tragically ironic that just as images of Bats are appearing everywhere for Halloween, the first death by Ebola in the US occurred.
The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, died Wednesday morning, October 8, 2014 according to the Dallas hospital where he was being treated.
Bats are the likely hosts of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history
This outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa, and CDC has confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. About half the people who have gotten Ebola in this outbreak have died.
Although the risk of Ebola spreading in the United States is very low, CDC and its partners are taking actions to prevent this from happening.
A person infected with Ebola can’t spread the disease until symptoms appear
The time from exposure to when signs or symptoms of the disease appear
(the incubation period) is 2 to 21 days, but the average time is 8 to 10 days.
Signs of Ebola include fever (higher than 101.5°F) and symptoms like severe
headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained
bleeding or bruising.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood and body fluids
When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with
- Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen)
of a person who is sick with Ebola.
- Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or
body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.
Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food.
We recognize that even a single case of Ebola in the United States seems threatening, but the simple truth is that we do know how to stop the spread of Ebola between people
—Beth Bell, MD, MPH, Director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Protect yourself against Ebola
There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines
and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been
fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
To protect yourself from Ebola:
- DO wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based
- Do NOT touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit,
sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
- Do NOT handle items that may have come in contact with a sick
person’s blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles,
or medical equipment.
- Do NOT touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola.
Read more about Ebola HF:
Sequence for Putting On and Removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
What to do if you are exposed to Ebola
If you have traveled to an area with an Ebola outbreak or had close
contact with a person sick with Ebola, you may be at risk if you
Health advisory for airline travelers
- Had direct contact with blood or body fluids or items that came into contact
with blood or body fluids from a person with Ebola.
- Touched bats or nonhuman primates (like apes or monkeys) or blood, fluids,
or raw meat prepared from these animals.
- Went into hospitals where Ebola patients were being treated and had
close contact with the patients.
- Touched the body of a person who died of Ebola.
You should check for signs and symptoms of Ebola for 21 days
If you get sick after you come back from an area with an Ebola outbreak
- Take your temperature every morning and evening.
- Watch for other Ebola symptoms, like severe headache, muscle pain,
vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- Call your doctor even if you do not have symptoms. The doctor can
evaluate your exposure level and any symptoms and consult with public
health authorities to determine if actions are needed.
During the time that you are watching for signs and symptoms, you can
continue your normal activities, including going to work.
- Get medical care RIGHT AWAY if you have a fever (higher than 101.5°F),
severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or
unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- Tell your doctor about your recent travel to West Africa or contact with
a person who was sick with Ebola and your symptoms BEFORE you go
to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Calling before you go to the
doctor’s office or emergency room will help the staff care for you and
protect other people.
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