Ebola virus spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids
The man diagnosed with ebola is currently being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
Anna-Kathryn Rye says people who make only brief contact with someone infected are at a low risk of catching the virus.
By: Jen Ashley
Thefirst confirmed ebola casein the United States was diagnosed in Dallas Tuesday. Now many Americans are asking just how contagious is the disease.
Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and bleeding. Because symptomsare very similar to those of traditional flu, it is important to remember that a person can only be infected with ebola if they have been in close contact with a person who has the disease.
"You can't just be exposed on the street with it. You either have to be a caregiver of someone who has ebola, or have traveled to West Africa and been a caregiver there," said Anna-Kathryn Rye, Division Director of Pediatric Infectious diseases at Palmetto Richland Hospital.
That means a person who has only had brief contact with an infected individual is not likely to get the disease. And there is no risk of getting infected while the disease is still in its incubation period. Ebola only becomes contagious once the infected person is showing symptoms.
The disease is not airborne, meaning that you cannot catch it by simply breathing in the same air as an infected person. It is only spread via bodily fluids. Some fluids are more contagious than others, contact with blood is more contagious then a cough or a sneeze.
Health officials are attempting to prevent spread of ebola in the United States by tracking down people who had made close contact with the man infected. They are also quarantining his family members in their home until they can are proven to be no risk.