Ebola Virus Q&A

An AAHPO Medical Alert




Lawrence V. Najarian, MD,President

Ted Chaglassian, MD, Past President

Arthur Kubikian, DDS
Vice President

Knarig Khatchadurian Meyer, PhD Corresponding Secretary

Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD
Recording Secretary

Garbis Baydar, MD

Louiza Puskulian-Kubikian, DDS
Membership Committee

Khoren Nalbandian, RPh

Edmund L. Gergerian, MD

Aram Cazazian, DDS
Vicken Pamoukian, MD
Terenig Terjanian, MD
Raffy Hovanessian, MD
Kim Hekimian, PhD  



As the Ebola outbreak has spread in West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public. Fortunately we have accurate information from the CDC and our own infectious disease specialists, Tsoline Kojoaghlanian, MD and Mihran Seferian, MD to help us sort it out.


Q. What is Ebola?

A. Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.


Q: Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.?

A. No.


Ebola isolation unit
This unit isolates Ebola patients being transported by airplane.
Q. What about Americans ill with Ebola who are being brought to the U.S. for treatment? 

A. CDC has very well-established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the United States. These procedures cover the entire process -- from patients leaving their bedside in a foreign country to their transport to an airport and boarding a non-commercial airplane equipped with a special transport isolation unit, to their arrival at a medical facility in the United States that is appropriately equipped and staffed to handle such cases. CDC's role is to ensure that travel and hospitalization is done to minimize risk of spread of infection and to ensure that the American public is protected. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during SARS. 


Q. Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?

A. No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.


Q. Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?

No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness.  It is not a water-borne illness.


Q. Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn't have any symptoms?

A. No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.


Q. What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane?

A. CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire.  CDC is also surging support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.

Q. What is CDC doing in the U.S.?

On the remote possibility that an ill passenger enters the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, isolation. CDC has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.


Q. What does the CDC's Travel Alert Level 3 mean to U.S. travelers?

A. On July 31, the CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them in country.


Learn more about the Ebola Virus.


Signs and symptoms of Ebola.


Can Ebola be prevented? 


Learn more from the CDC.



Have More Questions?
Please Call the AAHPO Hotline: 201-546-6166


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