There has been a lot of news coverage in recent days about the Ebola, and some members of the community are asking questions and expressing concerns. Our risk from Ebola is extremely low.
CDC believes risk of Ebola spreading widely in U.S. is low
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes the risk of Ebola spreading widely in the United States is low. Why? Because the U.S. Public Health system (including hospitals) has the expertise and equipment to contain the spread of illnesses like Ebola. Hospitals, doctors and nurses use these infection control practices every day to protect themselves and their communities. And people with Ebola cannot spread germs until they have symptoms.
In addition, there is another important part of the U.S. Public Health system: You!
Please educate yourself and others about Ebola to prevent spread of disease and panic:
- People with Ebola cannot spread germs until they have symptoms.
- Ebola is spread through direct skin or mucous membrane contact with blood and other body fluids from a person with Ebola. Mucous membranes include the surfaces of your mouth, nose, and eyes. Body fluids include urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen.
- Unlike flu, Ebola is NOT spread through breathing. It does not naturally exist in the U.S.
Top 5 actions you should take
There are important steps you can take to protect yourself against germs – such as Ebola, flu, enterovirus D68 and the common cold. Practice these 5 things always!
- Wash your hands — for 20 seconds (hint: sing “Happy Birthday” twice) — frequently, using soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, then wash your hands with soap and water when you can.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow. If you use a tissue, wash your hands with soap and water after throwing away the tissue.
- Get a flu shot every year. On average, 36,000 Americans of all ages die from the flu every year.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick. If that is not possible, keep a three-foot distance.
- Offer people a tissue to cover their coughs and sneezes. Direct them to where they can wash their hands or offer hand sanitizer.
- Stay home when you or your loved ones are sick. Return to work or school when you are symptom-free for 24 hours (including fever), and no longer taking fever-reducing medications.
Please educate yourself, do these 5 things, and encourage others to do the same. Then you know you have done all you can to protect yourself and others from the spread of germs.
- Read our Frequently Asked Questions about Ebola.
- Visit the CDC website. Visit the CDC website in Spanish.
- Read about public health preparedness in the National Capital Region.
What Arlington Public Health is doing to protect the community
- Monitoring the situation to adjust local public health preparedness plans.
- Working with VDH (Virginia Dept. of Health) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Quarantine Station to isolate ill travelers identified at area airports.
- Adjusting existing disease control and prevention recommendations to health partners.