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Facts About The Ebola Outbreak

August 12, 2014
A blue stethoscope.

With the arrival of two U.S. Ebola patients to the treatment facility at Emory University, some Georgians have experienced a measure of panic and concern about the deadly virus being so close to home. 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.
  • 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.

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

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.