What is Arlington County doing to prepare for a possible Ebola case?
Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) is working with our local hospital, infectious disease physicians, government officials, and other partners to share information about Ebola and to help them identify and respond appropriately to possible Ebola cases. ACPHD will arrange for appropriate testing for Ebola.
ACPHD staff will assist in identifying and monitoring close contacts of people with Ebola to limit its spread. Staff are on-call 24/7 to provide this support.
How is Ebola spread?
People can get Ebola through direct contact with a sick person’s body fluid, including blood, sweat, breast milk, semen, feces, or saliva. A patient must have Ebola symptoms to spread the disease to other people. People cannot spread Ebola if they do not have symptoms. Ebola cannot be spread through breathing.
What can I do to protect myself and my family from Ebola?
Ebola poses low risk to the public, and you can prevent infections by taking many of the same steps you use to prevent common illnesses like colds or the flu (influenza). These include:
- Avoid unnecessary contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid contact with people’s bodily fluids.
- Wash your hands often with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if warm water and soap are unavailable.
- Avoid unnecessary travel to Ebola-affected countries (Guinea and Sierra Leone).
How long does Ebola live on surfaces?
Ebola can survive on dry surfaces, such as doorknobs or countertops, for several hours. The virus can live up to several days at room temperature in bodily fluids, like blood.
Ebola is killed with hospital-grade disinfectants, such as household bleach. Make sure you follow instructions on cleaning products and keep them out of reach of children during use.
Is hand sanitizer effective in killing the virus? If I have a choice, should I use hand sanitizer or wash my hands with soap and water?
It is preferable to wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap is not available, but should contain at least 60% alcohol.
Do you have any information about how to talk with children about Ebola or other illnesses discussed in the news?
For more information on how to talk to children about illnesses discussed in the news, visit our How to Talk to Children About Health News page.
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