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Facts About The Ebola Outbreak

August 12, 2014
A blue stethoscope.

In recent weeks, the United States has experienced a handful of Ebola cases. What has followed in the aftermath has been a level of panic among Americans that has proven to be even more contagious than the virus itself. However, the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low due to a variety of factors.

Listed below are a few important facts you should know about Ebola:

  • Ebola is not airborne. It does not function like a virus and travel through the air from person to person like the common cold.
  • Ebola is spread from person-to-person by direct contact with bodily fluids. These fluids include sweat, blood, urine or coming into contact with an Ebola victim postmortem.
  • Ebola is not spread through food grown or legally bought in the United States. Again, the virus is spread through bodily contact with someone who is exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.
  • You’re really only at risk for Ebola if you’ve traveled to a country where the outbreak is occurring. If someone is exhibiting the symptoms of Ebola (bleeding inside or outside the body, rash, chest pain, difficulty breathing, swallowing or other symptoms), physicians have been advised to see if they’re traveled to a country that’s experiencing the outbreak within the past 21 days. Haven’t traveled to one of these countries? You probably don’t have Ebola.
  • An outbreak is very unlikely in the United States due to our infection control practices. Yes, in theory, a person infected with Ebola could travel to the United States; but it is highly unlikely that the disease would spread to even one other person.

As with any outbreak threat, it is best to err on the side of caution and delay any travel plans you might have to the affected West African countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The state of Georgia is taking precautionary steps to ensure the safety of its citizens. On October 20, Governor Deal created the Georgia Ebola Response Team to examine our state's preparedness in the event of an outbreak. The team will be issuing recommendations for public health and safety to Governor Deal regarding Ebola.

Finally, don't let yourself become too concerned about Ebola that you ignore a more common sickness in America: the flu. The Georgia Department of Public Health website has all the information you need to know about flu symptoms, how to better protect yourself from catching the flu and where to get your flu shot.

For more information on Ebola, check out the Georgia Department of Public Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated on October 23, 2014

About the Author

A Georgia native, Rachael Wheeler works as a Web Support Specialist for GeorgiaGov. She writes about a variety of current topics relevant to the Georgia government.