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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus that causes a serious and potentially life threatening hemorrhagic fever disease. The symptoms usually begin with fever, headache, joint pain, muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain and can progress to become more severe and include internal and external bleeding in a small percentage of patients.
How is Ebola passed from person to person?
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids (such as blood, saliva, vomit, diarrhea, or sweat) of a person who is infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?
No. Ebola is not a disease like the flu that can be transmitted through the air.
How long does it take to become ill once you are infected?
Once exposed to the virus, it can take between 2 and 21 days to become ill, though most people become ill within 8–10 days.
Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?
No, Ebola is not transmitted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Where does Ebola come from?
Ebola was first identified in Africa in 1976 and every few years there have been small sporadic outbreaks in African countries since then. Fruit bats are considered the most likely natural source of the virus. The virus probably circulates in bats normally, and occasionally monkeys or other animals get infected. From contact with an infected animal, humans can become infected and then EVD spreads from person to person.
Can someone get Ebola from a person who is not showing any symptoms?
No. Individuals who do not have symptoms of Ebola virus disease are not contagious. For the virus to be transmitted, a person has to have direct contact with the body fluids of a person infected with Ebola who is experiencing symptoms.
Is there a vaccine to prevent EVD?
There are currently no FDA approved vaccines for Ebola. The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is working on developing an Ebola vaccine. NIH recently announced they are expediting their work and are launching phase 1 clinical trials for humans of an Ebola vaccine.
Is there a treatment for EVD? The treatment for Ebola consists of supportive care, such as managing a patient’s electrolytes, maintaining fluid levels and hydration, and treating any secondary infections. There is no known cure, but scientists are working hard to develop a treatment.
What is being done to prevent further cases of Ebola from coming to the United States?
The CDC is monitoring people traveling into the United States at its 20 pre-existing sites across the country. Highly skilled CDC staff are on duty to respond to sick travelers who arrive at U.S. major airports, seaports, and land border crossings. If an ill passenger is identified, CDC then takes immediate measures to prevent further spread, such as evaluating and isolating the patient and monitoring those who have had contact with the ill passenger.
Are hospitals in the U.S. prepared to handle Ebola patients?
Yes, hospitals in the U.S. and New Hampshire routinely manage patients with illnesses that are spread through bodily fluids like Ebola. There are procedures and protocols in place to safely manage and care for such patients and to protect healthcare workers. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services has been working closely with hospitals and healthcare professionals to establish and implement infection control guidelines and procedures for anybody presenting with concern for possible Ebola infection.

Source: NH Department of Health and Human Services