The following is content compiled from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and submitted by Lindsey Dunstedter, with Phelps County Regional Medical Center:

The following is content compiled from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and submitted by Lindsey Dunstedter, with Phelps County Regional Medical Center:
What is Ebola?
• Ebola is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat.
• This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings often show low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
• The time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days.
• People remain infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus, including people who have died from ebola.
Transmitting Ebola
• In Africa, fruit bats are believed to be the natural hosts of ebola virus.
• The virus is transmitted from wildlife to people through contact with infected fruit bats, or through intermediate hosts, such as monkeys, apes or pigs that have become infected through contact with bat saliva or feces.
• The virus is then passed from person to person through direct contact with the blood, secretions or other bodily fluids of infected persons and contact with contaminated needles.
Diagnosing and Treating Ebola
• Definitive diagnosis of ebola is made through laboratory testing. Because samples from patients are a source of infection risk for others, testing is conducted under maximum biological containment conditions.
• No vaccine is available.
• There is no specific treatment.
• Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.
• Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes, or intravenous fluids.
You can only get ebola from direct contact with:
• Body fluids, including blood, vomit, urine, feces, sweat, semen and spit, from a person who is sick or has died from ebola,
• Objects contaminated with the virus, or
• Symptomatic patients. A patient must be sick with ebola and showing signs of symptoms, including fever, stomachache, headache, vomiting, bloody mucus, etc.
Ebola Preventive Measures in Health Care Environment
• Raising awareness of the risk factors for infection and the protective measures that should be taken is the only way to reduce human infection and subsequent deaths.
• Close unprotected physical contact with ebola patients should be avoided.
• Appropriate use of gloves and personal protective equipment (including hand hygiene before putting on, and especially after taking off personal protective equipment) should be practiced.
• Almost all transmission of the virus to health care workers has been reported when basic infection control measures have not been observed.
• Health care workers caring for any patient should practice standard precautions.
• When caring for patients with suspected or confirmed ebola virus infection, health care workers should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to avoid any exposure to patients’ blood and body fluids and with possibly contaminated environments.