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Information about Ebola available

The Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa, as well as the appearance of the disease in the United States has many people in our nation concerned about their chances of contracting the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control website, “Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebola virus species, four of which are known to cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.”
The CDC also reports that Ebola first occurred near the Ebola River in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Symptoms of the virus include severe headache, muscle pain, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage, either bruising or bleeding, according to the CDC.
In response to the concerns of state residents, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) recently announced three Ebola resources for Tennesseans.
The resources are:
• A toll-free number for information (1-877-857-2945).
• A website with information about the Ebola virus disease (http://health.state.tn.us/Ceds/ebola.htm).
• And, in case of a confirmed case of Ebola in Tennessee, the TDH will make an announcement on its website (http://health.state.tn.us/).
“We are glad there is increased awareness about this disease and we especially appreciate the efforts of our health care partners in prevention, detection and response planning,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, said in a press release from the state. “We all need to have an understanding of where the current risk exists and to make sure our concerns are based on facts and not on rumors.”
“If you have not traveled to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone within the last 21 days and if you have not been exposed to body fluids of a confirmed Ebola virus disease patient, you do not have an appreciable risk for Ebola,” said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “This is not an airborne disease, so those most at risk are people who have been in contact with body fluids of a confirmed patient, especially healthcare workers, family members and friends.”
The TDH also reminds residents of the difference between Ebola and the flu.
“With cold and flu season approaching, many people across Tennessee will develop fevers and have nausea which may cause additional concern this year,” the TDH reported. “Health care providers may ask more questions about a patient’s symptoms and travel history, which is part of an effective effort to provide care and to stop the spread of all illnesses. Getting a flu vaccine can eliminate one reason for a trip to the doctor.”
“Flu represents a clear and present danger and every year too many Tennesseans unnecessarily die from this common illness,” Dreyzehner said. “Some incorrectly regard flu as a really bad cold. It’s not; it can and does kill many every flu season. If you have not had your flu shot or nasal spray yet, we urge you to get it now. It could save your life.”