Questions about Ebola
For the most up-to-date Ebola information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a disease caused by the Ebola virus. It affects many of the body’s organ systems and often causes severe illness. Symptoms of Ebola most commonly start 8-10 days after coming into contact with Ebola virus but can occur as early as 2 days to up to 21 days after exposure. Ebola is a serious disease with a high fatality rate. Unfortunately, there are no available medications to cure Ebola and there is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent Ebola.
Symptoms of the Ebola virus include:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Abnormal bleeding with no apparent cause
What is the current status of Ebola virus in Wisconsin?
- There are no Ebola cases in Wisconsin. However, there is an Ebola outbreak occurring in West Africa.
- No one has contracted Ebola disease in Wisconsin.
- Please note: Ebola is not spread through food, water, or the air. It is only spread through direct contact with blood or body fluid of a person with symptoms of Ebola or who has died from Ebola.
Who is at risk?
- The risk of catching Ebola for the general public is extremely low in the United States except for health care workers who can become infected while providing care for an Ebola patient.
- Persons who have had direct contact with someone who has traveled to countries in West Africa where Ebola outbreaks are occurring.
- Health care providers or family members caring for a person with Ebola are at highest risk because they may come in contact with blood or body fluids.
How is Ebola spread?
- Ebola is spread by direct contact with blood or other body fluids (such as: vomit, diarrhea, urine, breast milk, sweat, semen) of an infected person who is sick with Ebola or who has recently died from Ebola.
- It can also be spread on objects or surfaces contaminated by body fluids of an infected person, for example clothing or bedding of an ill person that have not been cleaned.
- Ebola can only be spread from one person to another when someone has symptoms.
- In some circumstances, Ebola may also be spread from sick or dead wild animals. It is not known for sure which wild animals carry Ebola, but it has been found in bats, monkeys, and apes.
- In countries where Ebola is occurring, avoid contact with sick or dead wild animals. Do not eat wild animals or bush meat.
- Ebola is not spread through food, water, or the air.
Who can spread Ebola to others?
For a person to spread Ebola to others, they must have:
- Been in an area where Ebola disease is occurring within the last 21 days AND
- Been in contact with the blood or body fluids (such as: vomit, diarrhea, urine, breast milk, sweat, semen) of a person with Ebola or who has died from Ebola AND
- are sick with Ebola.