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EBOLA FACTS AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
EBOLA HAS BEEN OUT OF THE NEWS NOW FOR A LITTLE WHILE. WHAT'S THE LATEST?
While there have not been new cases in the United States in more than a month, the outbreak in West Africa is continuing. And as long as there is an outbreak in West Africa, there is a chance that we could have more cases in the US.
Many public health procedures have been put in place nationally and at the State and local level in the past few weeks. For example, all people traveling from the affected countries in West Africa are flying into 5 US airports where they are being screened and evaluated for Ebola exposure. This information is relayed to the health departments in the states of destination.
Here in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health is notifying local health departments when there is an asymptomatic person in their community who has just returned from West Africa. These people will be monitored by public health twice a day for 21 days in an effort to discover the development of symptoms early. Remember, people are not infectious unless they are sick and people are not as infectious in the early days of symptoms. The movement restrictions for people being monitored will vary depending on their risk for developing the infection, but for most people, their movements will not be limited.
The latest efforts will hopefully reduce the chance that a patient will just "pop in" at a clinic or emergency room because they will have instructions to contact public health if symptoms develop.
There are also efforts ongoing to identify hospitals with the training necessary to screen, hold, and treat suspected and actual Ebola patients.
WHAT IS BEING DONE IN WOODBURY COUNTY IN RESPONSE TO THE THREAT OF EBOLA?
A LOT. Individuals from many organizations including emergency management, public safety, hospitals, doctors offices, and public health have been very busy planning for the possibility that someone with Ebola could be discovered in our community. Many collaborative meetings have taken place in order to share ideas and the latest information, ask important questions, access resources, and align plans to be as consistent as possible in the community.
The focus of the planning involves early recognition of a potentially infected individual, limiting the number of people to have contact with that individual once he/she is identified, getting a proper diagnosis, and protecting those healthcare workers that must come in contact with an infected person.
HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME INFECTED WITH EBOLA?
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is already infected. The common body fluids that a person could be exposed to include urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen. You cannot get Ebola unless you have had direct contact with the body fluids of a symptomatic person.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA?
Symptoms include fever (greater than 101.5˚F), severe headaches, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Symptoms may appear between 2 and 21 days after exposure, but the average is 8-10 days.
It’s important to note that these symptoms are non-specific and are common symptoms of other illnesses. Combining these symptoms with travel to certain countries in West Africa and/or contact with a person known to have Ebola is important in getting a proper diagnosis.
WHAT ARE THE COUNTRIES OF CONCERN IN AFRICA?
Ebola continues to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in the far western edge of Africa. There have been cases in Mali lately and travelers coming from Mali are now being screened at one of 5 international airports in the United States. Cases in Nigeria, Senegal, and Spain have not spread Ebola and the outbreak in The Congo is also completely contained at this time.
iHeartMedia in conjunction with Siouxland CARES has released the 13th Anniversary Issue of the Parent's Survival Guide. It contains a lot of great information such as tips and resources for parents and information on preventing bullyings and youth development programs that are offered in our area. It is a great read from cover to cover.