ebola 16-9
roduced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (yellow-green). Photo via Public Health Image Library/CDC
ebola 16-9

Local health officials said Thursday that San Diego County and the rest of the country are not at risk for an Ebola epidemic and have systems in place to contain isolated cases.

County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said the local medical community has been alerted to be on the lookout for signs of the virus — including fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising — and to ask anyone with any of those symptoms about their recent travel history.

“While Ebola can be scary to people, the local risk for Ebola has not changed. We have a global community, and the possibility of someone traveling from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone and flying back home here is much like the first case in Dallas,” Wooten said.

“The good news is that we have a strong health-care system that is more prepared than the countries in Africa where the outbreak is occurring, so any case in the U.S. is likely to be an isolated incident,” she said.

Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after traveling to see his fiancee in Dallas. He remains hospitalized in serious condition, and his fiancee and others who have had contact with him since his arrival in Texas have been placed under a 21-day quarantine.

Ebola is not spread through casual contact, officials with the county Health and Human Services Agency said. The virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated.

“If a case of Ebola were to happen locally, the county of San Diego has well-trained staff that would investigate and locate any recent contacts of the person,” Wooten said. “We would need to find everyone who had direct contact with the person when they were showing symptoms and isolate these contacts if they were also showing symptoms to stop the spread of the disease.”

—City News Service