A nurse who was treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who died of Ebola in Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last week, has contracted the disease. This is the first known transmission of the disease in the United States, and Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden said it's possible additional health workers who treated Duncan will be diagnosed in the coming days.
But before you panic, take a look at these common myths about the deadly virus.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a scary virus indeed: It has a death rate of up to 90 percent, and it does horrible things to the human body. But the myths that have popped up around Ebola in the few decades since its discovery could be even scarier than the disease. Take a look at common myths about Ebola, debunked by the World Health Organization.
Myth: Ebola can be transmitted through the air.Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. Humans can also be exposed to the virus through activities like, for example, butchering infected animals.
Myth: Ebola is a rapidly changing virus that could potentially be spread through the air eventually.The first important fact to know about the Ebola virus is that it does not change nearly as fast as other viruses, and it can not be transmitted through the air.
Myth: Death is certain for those who contact Ebola. Not true. While Ebola outbreaks usually have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent, it is possible to survive it through intensive support care.
Myth: There is a shortage of Ebola vaccines. Actually, there is no licensed vaccine for the virus and also no cure, but care from medical workers so far has helped sustain the lives several of those stricken. Patients that contract the disease require intensive care and the main debilitation of this virus is dehydration. Patients will be given oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.
Myth: People infected with Ebola exhibit signs and symptoms similar to those afflicted in zombie horror movies. Yes, Ebola is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain,, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. But those infected with the disease are not walking, groaning zombies, nor are they trying to eat human flesh.
Myth: Ebola is the deadliest disease known to man. True, it can be deadly. But there are many far more common diseases that have claimed many more lives than Ebola.
Click here to read more about the Ebola virus itself.