National Capital Region Ebola Update

Posted at 3:25 p.m.

There are no cases of Ebola in the National Capital Region. However, measures are in place to effectively deal with an Ebola infected person if one were to arrive in the region. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the top health officials in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia have said the risk of Ebola spreading widely in the United States is low.

Enhanced Screening at Dulles International Airport to Begin on Thursday, Oct. 16

Travelers from the Ebola-affected countries entering the U.S. through Dulles International Airport and four other U.S. airports (New York’s JFK, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare and Atlanta international airports) will receive enhanced entry screening. Screening begins at Dulles tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 16. This screening means that travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will:

  • Receive information about Ebola, its symptoms, what to do if symptoms develop and information for doctors if travelers need medical attention.
  • Be asked to answer questions to determine their risk of infection, have their temperatures taken and be observed for other symptoms of Ebola.
  • If symptoms exist, be referred to CDC officials on site for further evaluation.

As a result of this process, CDC officials at the airport will determine whether a traveler:

  • Can continue to travel.
  • Should be taken to a hospital for evaluation, testing and treatment.
  • Is referred to a local health department for further monitoring and support.

This enhanced screening of those entering the U.S. from the affected countries in West Africa will support the surveillance and monitoring already in place throughout the region at hospital emergency rooms and other health facilities.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected patient’s blood or bodily fluids.  For more detailed information about the disease, visit the CDC website, www.cdc.gov, and review the Frequently Asked Questions about Ebola on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments website.

facts about ebola (CDC)

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8 responses to “National Capital Region Ebola Update”

  1. Withheld by request says :

    Is the Ebola that’s originated in a trio of west African states a genetically different strain than that encountered in past outbreaks? Is it more lethal than prior recorded outbreaks? How much greater is the scope of those falling I’ll than past outbreaks?

  2. Nicole Kibler says :

    How about those situations where someone may be infected, but doesn’t know it, and goes to the grocery store and touches the foods on the shelves. It seems to me that customers that touch those same products that were touched by the person infected would be at risk. Is this correct?

    • NoVa mom says :

      Remember that the virus spreads through bodily fluids – blood, urine, vomit, feces, spit, tears etc. I wouldn’t worry about our food supply in DC at this point. Here’s info from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html

    • Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

      Nicole: Thanks for the question: Once exposed to Ebola, the incubation period for people to develop symptoms is 2 to 21 days. While it is possible for someone who was exposed and is not yet showing symptoms could travel from West Africa to the United States during that period, it is important to remember that a person is not contagious until he or she has symptoms that include fever. If a person does not yet have symptoms and as a result doesn’t know that he or she is infected, then he or she is not yet contagious, which means he or she cannot infect other people. It’s also important to understand that Ebola is not spread by simply being in the same room with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission requires direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, such as blood or secretions, or from exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles. You can’t get Ebola through air. You can’t get Ebola through water. You can’t get Ebola through food. So, there is no risk of contracting Ebola from touching the same items in a grocery store that a person who had no symptoms touched previously. You can learn more about Ebola risks at http://www.cdc.gov/ebola.

  3. April says :

    My concern is public bathrooms. It is spread through bodily fluids and I surely see many toilet seats with urine on them. Suppose someobody (maybe a child) sits on the seat and happens to have an opening on their upper thigh or buttocks area. Can you really tell me that it is not a way to spread this disease? Toilet seats are the most common areas of other peoples body fluid. Is it transferred through urine?

    • Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

      We are currently not aware of anyone infected with Ebola who is in the general population of the United States and therefore, it’s highly unlikely that anyone in the U.S. could contaminate a public restroom. However, you are correct—yes, Ebola can be transmitted through urine. Ebola virus on dry surfaces, such as doorknobs and counter tops, usually dies within several hours. In the event that someone managed to make it through airport screenings and travel to the U.S. and then become sick here, keep in mind that a person who is infected with Ebola cannot infect others until he or she begins to show symptoms, such as fever. By the time a person infected with Ebola becomes sick with fever, he or she so sick that he or she would be unlikely to feel well enough to go out and interact with others. Once Ebola symptoms come on, a person usually is sick enough to seek medical care and once identified will be isolated. For these reasons, it is highly unlikely that anyone would contract Ebola from a public restroom unless a person known to have Ebola had been there. Again, right now, all people who are contagious with Ebola in the U.S. in isolation at health care facilities. The risk of exposure to Ebola among the general population remains very low.