Ebola: How it spreads

In this photo provided by the UCLA Health System, doctors and staff participate in a preparadness exercise on diagnosing and treating patients with Ebola virus symptoms, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The exercise was observed by Los Angeles County health department officials. UCLA’s multi-pronged approach includes protocols for transporting patients through the hospital, disposing of trash and waste, dedicating equipment -- such as ventilators and X-ray machines -- for Ebola patient use only, setting up a mobile laboratory, acquiring specialized personal protective equipment and staff training. (AP Photo/UCLA Health System, Reed Hutchinson)
In this photo provided by the UCLA Health System, doctors and staff participate in a preparadness exercise on diagnosing and treating patients with Ebola virus symptoms, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The exercise was observed by Los Angeles County health department officials. UCLA’s multi-pronged approach includes protocols for transporting patients through the hospital, disposing of trash and waste, dedicating equipment -- such as ventilators and X-ray machines -- for Ebola patient use only, setting up a mobile laboratory, acquiring specialized personal protective equipment and staff training. (AP Photo/UCLA Health System, Reed Hutchinson)

Some facts about how Ebola spreads:

WHEN IS EBOLA CONTAGIOUS?

Only when someone is showing symptoms, which can start with vague symptoms including a fever, flu-like body aches and abdominal pain, and then vomiting and diarrhea.

HOW DOES EBOLA SPREAD?

Through close contact with a symptomatic person’s bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. That’s why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat.

WHAT ABOUT MORE CASUAL CONTACT?

Ebola isn’t airborne. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don’t get exposed by sitting next to someone on the bus. “This is not like flu. It’s not like measles, not like the common cold. It’s not as spreadable, it’s not as infectious as those conditions,” he added.

WHO GETS TESTED WHEN EBOLA IS SUSPECTED?

Hospitals with a suspected case call their health department or the CDC to go through a checklist to determine the person’s level of risk. Among the questions are whether the person reports a risky contact with a known Ebola patient, how sick he or she is and whether an alternative diagnosis is more likely. Most initially suspicious cases in the U.S. haven’t met the criteria for testing.

HOW IS IT CLEANED UP?

The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. Dried virus on surfaces survives only for several hours.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WDTN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s