Yesterday's confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that the United States has its first confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas made many people worried, and rightfully so: The virus has resulted in a tragic epidemic in West Africa that has led to over 3,000 deaths. But American officials say there is little to be concerned about here at home. "I have no doubt that we will control this importation, or this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country," said Thomas Frieden, MD, CDC director. Here, three things you should know about Ebola that will help put your mind at ease.
1. Ebola isn't easy to catch There are rumors floating around that Ebola is an airborne infection, but the truth is it's only spread by coming in direct with the bodily fluids (such as vomit, sweat, blood or urine) of someone who is sick with Ebola and showing symptoms like fever. In other words, you can't catch Ebola just by being in the same room or on the same plane as an infected individual.
2. You're more likely to get the flu As Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachery Thompson reminded people, it's easier to catch the flu than it is to catch Ebola (and sadly, the flu can be deadly too). To safeguard your and your family's health, be sure to get a flu vaccine this season. Go to flu.gov to find a vaccination location near you.
3. Hospitals are equipped to deal with Ebola Our medical institutions have special teams and procedures in place to handle infectious diseases and minimize the likelihood that anyone else will be infected—and this case is no exception. Doctors are also monitoring those who have been in close with the infected Dallas patient (includingfive children) to make sure that they don't develop symptoms of Ebola. The bottom line: While Ebola isn't something to take lightly, our country's experts are managing this current case while working to keep the rest of the public healthy.