Should Your Child See a Doctor?

Ebola Exposure

Is this your child's symptom?

  • You or your child were exposed to someone diagnosed with Ebola
  • You traveled to or are living in an area with recent cases of Ebola. These countries are mainly in West Africa.
  • You have questions about Ebola
  • Ebola Exposure means:
    • Touching a person diagnosed with Ebola. Examples include kissing, hugging, or holding hands. Another example is sharing eating or drinking utensils.
    • Contact with blood or body fluids of a person with suspected or proven Ebola.
    • Handling bats or monkeys from areas where Ebola occurs.

Ebola Facts

  • Ebola is an infection caused by the Ebola virus.
  • The infection is spread human-to-human. The first cases may have come from contact with infected bats or monkeys.
  • It is a rare disease, but the death rate can be 50%.
  • There have been small outbreaks in Africa since 1976.
  • In 2014, a major outbreak of Ebola started in Guinea in West Africa.
  • On September 30, 2014, the CDC reported the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient caught Ebola in Liberia. He came down with his first symptoms in Dallas, Texas. 

Symptoms of Ebola

Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days. Symptoms are:

  • Fever. Fever is usually the first symptom.
  • Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Severe headache, weakness or muscle pain.
  • Bleeding and bruising are late symptoms.

How Ebola Is Spread

  • Ebola can be spread to others.
  • Infected people do not spread the illness during the incubation period. This is the time between exposure and the time a person gets sick.
  • People with Ebola do not spread the disease until they become sick.
  • The Ebola virus can be spread in several ways.
  • Blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola can spread this illness. Body fluids include saliva, urine, vomit, stool, sweat, semen and breastmilk.
  • Dirty objects with blood or body fluids on them can spread the disease. Examples are dirty clothing, bedding or needles.
  • How is the Ebola virus transmitted? Ebola can start when infected fluid gets into the eyes, nose or mouth. This mainly happens if infected fluid gets on the hands. Then, the healthy person touches their face with dirty hands. Frequent hand washing is helpful. Rarely, the virus may pass through an open cut on the skin.
  • In general, coughing and sneezing are not Ebola symptoms. Therefore, Ebola is usually not spread this way. But, a sick person's cough or sneeze may contain the virus in the spray. If the spray gets into the eyes, nose or mouth, it could transmit the disease.
  • It is not spread in the water or in food.
  • There is no evidence that it is spread by mosquitoes or other insects.
  • Ebola is not spread through body fluid contact with intact skin. Blood or vomit on normal skin is safe if carefully washed off.

Countries with Ebola Outbreaks

  • Most Ebola patients have been linked to countries in West Africa. These patients have either lived in or traveled to countries there. These countries include Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The risk of getting the illness is highest in these countries.
  • Caregivers and close contacts of Ebola patients can also get the disease.
  • But, for most people, your risk of getting Ebola remains very low.
  • Countries where Ebola is occurring can change. For the most current list, go to the CDC website: www.cdc.gov

First Aid for Someone Else's Body Fluid on the Skin

  • Wash skin with soap and water.

First Aid for Someone Else's Body Fluid in the Eye

  • Flushing of the eye with tap water should be done right away. Reason: To rinse out the body fluid. Do this for 2-3 minutes.
  • Wash the face with soap and water.

First Aid for Someone Else's Body Fluid in the Mouth

  • Rinse the mouth with water and spit it out. Do this over and over for 2-3 minutes.
  • Wash the face with soap and water.

First Aid for Someone Else's Body Fluid in the Nose

  • Rinse the nostrils with water and then blow your nose. Do this by splashing water in the nose from a faucet or shower. Another option is using a squirt bottle or syringe. Do this over and over for 2-3 minutes.
  • Wash the face with soap and water.

When to Call for Ebola Exposure

Call 911 Now

  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Any unusual symptoms within 21 days of Ebola Exposure
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Exposure to Ebola in the past 21 days and NO fever or other symptoms
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Exposure to Ebola more than 21 days ago and NO fever or other symptoms

Care Advice

Ebola Exposure within Last 21 Days and Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know About Ebola Infection:
    • Your child was exposed to Ebola in the last 21 days and now has symptoms.
    • Your child needs to be checked to see if they have Ebola.
  2. Go to the Emergency Room/ER After You Talk to the ER:
    • You should go to the nearest ER after you call and talk to them. Tell them your child's symptoms and that they were exposed to Ebola. This is a very important step! This way the ER will be ready to take care of you and protect others.
    • Also, the ER may send a special ambulance out to get your child.
    • The ER is the best place to get testing and treatment.
    • The ER is most prepared to prevent the spread of this infection to others.
  3. Isolation Is Needed:
    • Do Not go to school or work.
    • Do Not go to church, child care centers, shopping, or other public places.
    • Avoid close contact with others hugging, kissing. Do Not shake hands.
  4. Protect Others from Body Fluids:
    • Protect others from blood and other body fluids!
    • Body fluids include saliva, urine, vomit, stool, sweat, semen and breastmilk.
    • Cover any bleeding area with a towel or cloth.
    • Other people should avoid contact with blood or body fluids. They should not touch you or your child. They should not handle your child's bedding or dirty clothes.
  5. Fever Medicine:
    • For fever above 102 F 39 C, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen before going in.
    • Vomiting: Avoid medicine until seen.

Ebola Exposure within Last 21 Days and No Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know About Ebola Exposure:
    • Your child was exposed to Ebola but doesn't have any symptoms.
    • Since it's been less than 21 days, he is still at risk for getting Ebola. The Ebola infection starts within 21 days after the last exposure.
    • You will need to watch for symptoms until 21 days have passed.
  2. Call the Local Public Health Department Right Away:
    • Call the local public health department right away.
    • If you cannot contact the public health department, call your doctor.
    • This is very important. This must be done to stop the spread of the disease
  3. Stay at Home:
    • Stay at home until you talk with the public health department or your doctor.
    • They will tell you how much isolation is needed during the 21 days.
    • Check your temperature two times a day.
    • Report any fever or symptoms to the health care provider following you.
  4. Go to the Nearest Emergency Room/ER After You Call Them If:
    • Fever occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Headache occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Unexplained bruising or bleeding occurs within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • Important Note: You must phone the ER first before you go there. Tell them your child's symptoms and that they were exposed to Ebola. This is a very important step! This way the ER will be ready to take care of you and protect others. Also, the ER may send a special ambulance out to get you.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Any unexplained symptoms occur within 21 days of Ebola exposure
    • You have other questions or concerns

Ebola Exposure Over 21 Days Ago and No Symptoms 

  1. Reassurance:
    • Symptoms should appear 2 to 21 days after the last exposure to Ebola. The average is 8-10 days.
    • Over 21 days have passed since your child's last exposure.
    • Your child did not develop fever or other symptoms of Ebola infection.
    • Therefore, your child should be safe from getting Ebola. 
  2. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Fever occurs
    • You think your child needs to be seen

Internet Resources

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.