The Facts About Ebola


by James Yang, MD

While the recent DC Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) news has proven to be a false scare, DC residents are vigilant as ever since the deadly Ebola virus arrived in the United states with a patient in Dallas.  The virus has infected over 7540 people and killed over 3473 people since the outbreak in March in West Africa.  Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever, meaning that it causes bleeding inside and outside the body.  After getting infected through exposure to bodily fluids, the virus can have a long incubation period with symptoms starting between 2-21 days.  Initial symptoms are nonspecific including fever, weakness, sore throat and headaches and may be interpreted as a flu-like illness.

At Metro Immediate Care, providers have been discussing our Ebola response and we have been preparing for the worse possible scenario, the arrival of a patient that meets the CDC definition for a probable Ebola case:

1. Clinical criteria, which includes fever of greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained bleeding; AND

2. Risk factors within the past 21 days before the onset of symptoms, such as residence in—or travel to—an area where EVD transmission is active (West African countries and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), or contact with blood or other body fluids or human remains of a patient known to have or suspected to have EVD.

We will continue to closely monitor this situation and will be prepared to identify possible cases.  We encourage any patient who suspects they may have Ebola or have been exposed to Ebola go to the nearest Emergency Department at their local hospital.

Cases:  7470 + 70 = 7540

Deaths: 3431 + 42 = 3473