Jax Disease Specialist: Ebola Not A Concern Without Extremely Close Contact

Oct 6, 2014

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, but health care providers and the Center for Disease Control are preparing for the possiblity.

  This week, The Florida Department of Health is distributing recommendations to Florida hospitals for detecting suspected Ebola virus.

As the sole confirmed Ebola patient in this country continues to fight for his life in a Dallas hospital, Some fear a wider outbreak. Others say American hospitals may need to step up their Ebola training after the man was sent home with the virus.

Dr. Mobeen Rathore, specialist in pediatric infectious diseases with UF Health in Jacksonville, and Charlie Patton, health reporter for the Florida Times-Union, joined Melissa Ross to discuss concerns surrounding Ebola.

Dr. Rathore stressed that, despite precautions being put in place, that Ebola is not actually that easy to get. 

"This is a disease that you can't get by casual contact," said he. "You have to have contact with body fluids and secretions."

Rathore said that the flu or even measles is much easier to contract. For Ebola, he said, you have to be around someone who already shows symptoms, which don't usually appear until eight to ten days after the person has contracted the virus. Symptoms are similar to a bad viral infection, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a bad cough.

Rathore says there that we have no evidence that Ebola can become airborne, and that people need to understand that the disease is only transmittable when a person with Ebola is showing symptoms and is already sick. 

"You cannot get it just from casual contact," he said.

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Annie Black @helloannieblack.