August 8, 2014

Updated Aug. 21, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with many agencies to respond to the virus outbreak in West Africa. As of Aug. 21, 2014, there were 2,473 suspected and confirmed cases, including 1,350 deaths, across four countries.

Public health physicians in our local counties and the State of Oregon are closely monitoring this situation and updating providers.

Q and A:
 

Am I at risk in Multnomah County?

 Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the public in the United States. There have been no cases contracted in the U.S. The risk factors are being a health care provider for someone with Ebola or caring for someone with suspected Ebola before or after their death.
 

What is stopping someone ill from flying here?

International airlines are currently screening travelers to keep ill passengers from West Africa from getting on a  plane. In addition, there are no direct flights from West Africa to Portland. On the remote possibility someone did board a plane, the CDC has protocols to protect against the spread of the disease.

But some affected Americans have been flown to the U.S. for treatment?
 

The CDC has established protocols to ensure the safe transport and care of a people with an infectious diseases back to the United States. This includes boarding a non-commercial plan with a special isolation unit, and arriving at a medical center in the U.S. that is equipped to handle such a case.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other body fluids of a patient known or suspected to have Ebola. Someone could be possibly exposed if they live in or have traveled to an area where Ebola is actively being spread (currently Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone); or if they have directly handled bats, rodents, or primates from areas on the African subcontinent that have had Ebola outbreaks.

Ebola is not spread through food, water or the air.
 

What if a person is infected but doesn’t show any symptoms?

Unlike other kinds of infections where people are contagious before they feel sick, individuals with Ebola are considered contagious once they have symptoms. Symptoms of Ebola include a fever, severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, abdominal pain or unexplained hemorrhage.

Should anyone who traveled to Africa be screened?

We are not currently recommending screening for anyone who is feeling well



More information available at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/