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Published on Oct 23, 2014
In 2014, the largest Ebola epidemic in history occurred in multiple countries in West Africa. In September of that year, a person who traveled from Africa to the United States was diagnosed with the condition in Texas. It then spread to healthcare workers who provided the patient with medical care.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, also known as EHF is the name of the disease caused by infection with an Ebola virus. In past outbreaks, it has had a fatality rate of up to 90%. Individuals with EHF generally have symptoms typical of viral illnesses, including fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. The illness progression includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and impaired organ function. In some cases, rash, internal and/or external bleeding, and death may occur.
Naturally-occurring EHF outbreaks are believed to start with contact with infected wildlife (alive or dead), and then spread from person to person through direct contact with body fluids such as, but not limited to, blood, urine, sweat, semen, breast milk, vomit and feces. The infection can be spread when body surfaces that can easily absorb blood-borne pathogens, such as open cuts, scrapes, or mucous membranes (e.g., lining of mouth, eyes, or nose) come into direct contact with infectious blood or body fluids. A person can also get EHF by eating or butchering meat (e.g., bush meat) from an animal infected with Ebola virus.
Symptoms typically appear abruptly, within 2-21 days (8-10 days is most common) following exposure. Thus, individuals exposed while living, working or traveling in areas experiencing an ongoing outbreak or where EHF is endemic could develop symptoms up to three weeks after exposure. However, EHF is believed to be contagious only once an individual begins to show symptoms.
EHF is not generally spread through casual contact. The risk of infection with Ebola virus is believed to be minimal if one has not been in close contact with the body fluids of someone sick with or recently deceased from EHF.
People at increased risk of exposure may include healthcare workers or family members caring for a sick individual. Others who could be at risk include anyone who may come into contact with sick individuals or their body fluids.
These are just a few things to know about EHF. To learn more about a wide range of occupational, environmental, health and safety issues, please visits the websites shown in the video.