Q824: Do you have any information / advice regarding the Ebola virus?
Please see below the most frequently asked questions regarding the Ebola virus:
Can you catch Ebola from breathing near an infected person?
No. Ebola cannot be transmitted in the air. It has to come from direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person (eg. saliva, mucus, vomit, faeces, sweat, tears).
Is washing my hands really going to stop the spread of Ebola?
Yes. Maintaining high standards of personal hygiene means that you kill any germs you might contract from an infected person before you can ingest them.
Should I use alcohol hand gel?
Using alcohol hand gel is generally considered to be good practice to avoid communicable diseases. It will prove effective against virus transmission, including the Ebola virus.
I am worried that I could catch Ebola from someone who is not showing symptoms?
A person does not become infectious until they are showing symptoms.
What should I do if someone sneezes/coughs in my face?
Follow general hygiene protocols. In particular make sure you wash hands and face, as this will help to stop transmission. Also remember that being sneezed or coughed on is not enough to catch Ebola, bodily fluids need to be ingested.
What are the signs of Ebola?
Ebola symptoms are non specific in the early stages, for example fever, and can be like other infections such as malaria which may also be common in the same parts of the world. Symptoms may last from a few days to a week or more. In the later stages there may be vomiting, diarrhoea, skin lesions and bleeding.
How can you contract the virus and how is it spread?
Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. Avoiding contact with those infected mitigates the risk of infection. The incubation period of Ebola ranges from 2 to 21 days.
Is the UK prepared for a potential outbreak of this highly infectious and deadly virus?
Yes. We have well-tested systems for dealing with any imported case of this type of disease. PHE and NHS England have plans in place to identify and promptly treat patients. We have robust prevention measures to contain infection, including specialist units if needed.