With the recent identification of cases here in the United States, Ebola continues to dominate world headlines. The Ebola outbreak is concentrated in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and has been contained in Nigeria. To date, the US has seen only four confirmed cases of Ebola–three in Texas, and one in New York–and the risk for most Americans, including those traveling to Dallas or New York City, is extremely low. Experts and public health officials feel that Ebola is very unlikely to become an epidemic in the US.
Even so, we take every public health concern very seriously and are committed to keeping you safe and well. We are closely following the situation and are in constant contact with local, state, and national health officials. We will continue to keep you informed of the latest developments. In the meantime, here are the essentials about Ebola, what you should do if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus, and what we are doing to prepare for further developments.
What are the symptoms of Ebola virus disease?
Symptoms of Ebola virus disease (EVD) may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
- Bruising and/or bleeding
Symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure to the virus, although the average onset is 8 to 10 days.
How does the Ebola virus spread?
The virus does not spread through casual contact. You would have to be very close to someone with Ebola symptoms in order to become infected, and have direct contact with that person’s bodily fluids or contact with contaminated objects, such as needles. The virus can enter the body through breaks in the skin as well as the mucous membranes, such as the lining of your mouth or nose. It doesn’t appear to spread via aerosols, like those we expel when we cough or sneeze. Simply sharing a subway with or living in the same neighborhood as someone with Ebola does not increase your risk. And–this is important to remember–people with Ebola are only contagious when they have actual symptoms, not during the preliminary incubation period when they have been infected but feel fine.
What do I do if I think I have been exposed to Ebola?
If you have worrisome symptoms or suspect that you may have been exposed to the virus, please call our office immediately, rather than book an appointment. This will help us direct you to the right location and provide you with the best care as quickly as possible.
Please do not head directly to a hospital or emergency room without first speaking with us.
Los Angeles County: 323-305-7606
New York City: 212-441-4383
San Francisco Bay Area: 415-523-6317
What is One Medical Group doing to prepare?
We’ve formed a One Medical team of experts with representatives from all over the country. We’re following the situation very closely and are working with health officials as well as experts in infection control to ensure we’re ready for any potential turn of events. In addition, we’ve taken the following steps to protect our patients and staff, and make sure we are prepared in the case we do need to treat a patient with Ebola:
- Our medical team is prepared to evaluate patients over the phone, quickly identify anyone who may be at risk for Ebola, and guide them in the process of getting quick and effective care.
- We are ensuring that we are up-to-the-minute on the evolving protocols for evaluating and caring for sick patients, both over the phone and in the office.
- We have personal protective equipment for our providers to wear if necessary, and have designated “safe” rooms to isolate patients if necessary.