The current Ebola outbreak is an evolving situation. While the risk of Ebola in the United States is considered to be very low, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Department is working with local, state and federal partners to prepare in the event that a person is diagnosed with Ebola in the County.
While we should be aware of the disease, its symptoms and its potential, it is extremely unlikely that Ebola poses a public health risk to Californians. At the present time, no confirmed cases have been identified in California.
Ebola Recent Status: On March 23, 2014, the Ministry of Health in Guinea notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a rapidly evolving outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Since then, the outbreak has expanded to include the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and most recently, a cluster of cases in Nigeria. As of October 10, 2014 the WHO has reported a cumulative total of 8400 suspect and confirmed cases, 4033 suspected case deaths, and 4656 laboratory confirmed cases. For the latest updates on Ebola activity, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.
EVD is an infectious disease caused by the Ebola virus. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure and include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and abnormal bleeding. It is classified as a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) because of the fever and abnormal bleeding. Among the VHFs, Ebola is feared because of its high mortality. There are no specific treatments but supportive therapy can be provided to address bleeding and other complications.
Important facts about Ebola include:
- Current science shows that people CANNOT get EVD through the air, food, or water.
- Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated.
- Persons are not contagious until they develop symptoms.
- Persons at highest risk for EVD include healthcare workers and family and friends of infected patients.
- Early identification of cases is crucial.
- Effective isolation of patients and appropriate infection control measures applied to any suspect EVD patient would contain any potential spread.