Most of us are aware of the terrifying Ebola outbreak in
Africa. With media reporting several suspected cases in the U.S. and a
confirmed Ebola case in Dallas, the epidemic is closer to home. We
should not panic. The risks still remain extremely low for U.S. citizens
to contract Ebola. And the chances of transmission in a school setting
are even lower. Understanding some basic facts about Ebola is the first
step to protecting yourself, and your families in the event Ebola comes
to our community or school.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a viral infection that is very rare and is not easy to
transmit from person to person. There is a serious outbreak in West
Africa partly because of lack of germ prevention and access to adequate
What the symptoms of Ebola?
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
Early-stage Ebola disease may be confused with other infectious
diseases (e.g., flu) because the initial symptoms are similar to those
seen with other viral infections.
Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the
patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection
develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.
Can Ebola Be Prevented?
Yes, killing the virus is easy. The Ebola virus can be killed with soap and water, heat, or a disinfectant or sanitizing agent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizers is a good precaution. This is perhaps the most important message for children to learn and share.
Because people in West Africa may not be able to follow these
precautions and may not have access to soap and water, Ebola has
continued to spread.
How is Ebola spread?
Ebola virus Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or through your eyes, nose, or mouth) with
•Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
•Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.
Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food.
How do I protect myself from Ebola?
•DO wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Do NOT touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
•Do NOT handle items that may have come in contact
with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding,
needles, or medical equipment.
Important Message for Parents:
It is much easier to catch to the flu or other respiratory
viruses than Ebola. For example, based on the Ebola statistics we have
right now, it is likely that flu will cause far more illness and deaths
around the globe than Ebola will.
News about the spread of diseases can be alarming, even for adults.
Keep yourself well informed so that your own fears are kept under
control. Talk with your children in ways that make sense to them so they
don't become overly concerned or afraid.
"Ebola: What Parents Need to Know." Http://www.healthychildren.org/.
American Academy of Pediatrics, 04 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.