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Ebola Symptoms: What to Watch For and How the Virus Spreads

Image: Ebola Symptoms: What to Watch For and How the Virus Spreads
(Handout/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 03 Oct 2014 05:01 PM

As word of Ebola cases being diagnosed or suspected in the United States ramps up concerns in the public, health officials are trying to raise awareness of symptoms and educate people about how it spreads in an effort to calm fears.

The first case diagnosed in the U.S. occurred this week in Texas, and Friday, officials said a patient was hospitalized in Washington, D.C., with symptoms that could indicate Ebola.

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with blood or body fluids through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The agency said it can spread through objects, such as needles and syringes, that are contaminated with the virus or through infected animals.

It is not spread through the air or by water, or, in general, by food, the CDC said.

Symptoms of Ebola, according to the CDC, include:

• Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
• Severe headache
• Muscle pain
• Weakness
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Abdominal (stomach) pain
• Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days, the CDC said.

The early stages of the illness can appear like many colds or flus. But if someone has Ebola, they will become more severely sick.

“As the virus begins to take hold of the body, gastrointestinal illness, such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea will occur,” CBS News said. “A patient may have trouble breathing and swallowing, experience chest pain, and develop a rash, excessive bruising and bloody blisters of the skin.”

The viral illness claims the lives of 50 to 90 percent of victims, CBS reported, saying that health officials aren’t sure why some people die and others recover. Supportive measures make a difference in the survival rate.

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As word of Ebola cases being diagnosed or suspected in the United States ramps up concerns in the public, health officials are trying to raise awareness of symptoms and educate people about how it spreads in an effort to calm fears.
ebola, symptoms, what, to, watch, for
313
2014-01-03
Friday, 03 Oct 2014 05:01 PM
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