Smart Woman: Ebola Virus

Published 07/30 2014 03:22PM

Updated 07/30 2014 06:45PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a health alert to US doctors this week about the Ebola outbreak in Africa but maintains the risk of the deadly virus spreading to this country is low.

Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center says, "It is possible that someone could go over there to help with medical care, become infected and then come to the United States and become sick here. Fortunately our doctors and emergency rooms , we infectious disease doctors and public health officials are ready for that."

Ebola can look like other illnesses at first. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. Some patients can later bleed internally and from their eyes and or mouth. Ebola is spread through close contact with bodily fluids. Health experts say patients are only contagious once they have symptoms. 

Dr. William Schaffner says, "If I were sitting on a plane next to someone on a plane who was in the incubation period.. I wouldn't be very worried about myself."

There is no treatment for Ebola. Doctors can use therapies to help support the body while it fights off the virus.
Ebola can kill up to 90% of victims. This current outbreak has a death rate around 60%.  

Two American health workers are currently hospitalized with Ebola in Liberia. One of them is Dr. Kent Brantly, whose family lives in the Abilene area.

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