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Myths About Ebola

Myth: Ebola is highly contagious

Answer: No

Facts: Compared with more common diseases, Ebola is not particularly infectious. This is because Ebola infection requires contact with the bodily fluids of people who are visibly infected – primarily blood, saliva, vomit and (possibly) sweat.

Myth: You can catch Ebola from someone who looks perfectly healthy

Answer: Not true

Facts: You can’t; Ebola infection can only be passed to a healthy individual from an individual who is visibly sick. People who display no Ebola symptoms are not yet infectious, and casual social contact (being nearby or even shaking hands) does not spread the virus.

Myth: We are not ready for Ebola in Washington, DC

Answer: We are prepared for Ebola

Facts: The District of Columbia is prepared. Hospitals, the District of Columbia Government, the District of Columbia Department of Health, Emergency Services, as well as a host of federal agencies have been coordinating extensively to detect and aggressively ward off any sign of disease in the unlikely event that it arrives. We have a strong and tested infrastructure against situations exactly like this.

Myth: We should quarantine anyone with “Ebola- like” symptoms

Answer: No

Facts: This would result in lots of people being needlessly quarantined. If you want an accurate list of symptoms for early-stage Ebola, simply imagine the last time you (or someone you know) had flu; the symptoms can be indistinguishable at first. This set of symptoms, shared among many common ailments, is behind the flurry of incidents at airports and hospitals of “possible Ebola cases” seen in the media. This is likely to keep happening, resulting in more false alarms than true cases.

Myth: Ebola is of more concern than the flu

Answer: Not true

Facts: Ebola is a real issue for those afflicted, but there are many things of greater concern for District of Columbia residents and the Department of Health. One of these concerns is influenza. Far more deaths and disability result each year from influenza than from Ebola, and, unlike Ebola, there is a vaccine available for influenza. Please remember to ask your doctor about vaccinations for yourself, and family members six months and older.