Ebola: Myths vs. Facts

Two Bellevue Hospital employees pose in protective suits in an isolation room during a demonstration of procedures for possible Ebola patients, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

Untrue facts about Ebola spread far more easily than the actual virus. Separate fact from fiction with the truth about common Ebola misconceptions.

Myth
Ebola can be spread through the air and water.

Fact
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, including blood, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen.

Myth
There are over-the-counter supplements that can prevent or cure Ebola.

Fact
With Ebola now in the United states, scammers are preying on people's fears to make a quick buck. There are no supplements, medicines or vaccines available to treat, prevent or cure Ebola. There are treatments under development, but none have been approved by the FDA.

Myth
Anyone who has come in contact with Ebola is contagious.

Fact
People infected Ebola are not contagious until they begin to show symptoms. Symptoms can begin to appear 2-21 days after exposure and can include fever, headache, stomach pain, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

This undated file image made available by the Centers for Disease Control shows the Ebola virus. (AP Photo)

Myth
Ebola cannot be spread through sexual contact.

Fact
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, including semen. The Ebola virus has been found in semen for as long as three months after a person has recovered.

Myth
The Ebola virus cannot survive outside the body.

Fact
The virus can survive on dry surfaces for several hours and up to several days in bodily secretions.

Myth
Ebola is more of a threat to Americans than the flu.

Fact
Between 5 and 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu every year and more than 200,000 people end up in the hospital. Ebola is much more rare and more difficult to catch. There are vaccines and medications to treat the flu while there are none for Ebola.

Myth
Expensive hand sanitizers are required to kill Ebola virus.

Fact
Routine hand washing with soap and water is recommended and Ebola can be killed with disinfectants like bleach.


Ebola facts courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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