How Can People Protect Themselves From the Ebola Virus Disease?

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Protecting oneself from the Ebola virus can be as simple as staying away from areas in which outbreaks are occurring. For those who do not have this option, extreme care should be taken to avoid contact with the saliva, blood, urine, feces, vomit, mucus, breast milk, sperm and other bodily fluids of infected people.

The Ebola virus travels from infected animals to humans and is then transmitted from human to human through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, so proper precautions should always be taken when in close proximity with a person who has been infected with the Ebola virus. Precautions may need to be taken well after an infected person recovers, because the virus can stay active in their bodily fluids for months after they have stopped showing symptoms of the disease.

Because the Ebola virus disease is not subject to airborne transmission, it is theoretically possible for healthy individuals to avoid infection even when interacting directly with infected patients. Health care workers who are caring for individuals infected with Ebola are at particular risk for contracting the virus. The risk of transmission is increased when proper sanitation protocol is not followed.

Those who are in proximity with a person who has been infected with Ebola should never make contact with the sick individual's bodily fluids and should take care to protect their mucous membranes.