Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola virus was first described in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has emerged periodically and infected people in several African countries. In August of 2014, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to an Ebola outbreak. The outbreak primarily affected countries in western Africa; however, Ebola cases were diagnosed in the United States and other countries. The majority of U.S. Ebola patients were infected outside of the U.S and either medically evacuated into the U.S for treatment or entered the county as a regular arline passenger. The Center for Disease Control collaborated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, and state and local public health departments to screen travelers returning from Ebola-affected countries, provide safe transport for patients being assessed for EVD, and strengthen preparedness and infection control in hospitals. Although the international outbreak was declared over in June 2016, there have been additional outbreaks reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Frederick County Health Department continues to monitor the situation and works very closely with community and state partners in preparing for and responding to situations that might be related to Ebola.
Local and State Ebola Preparedness
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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30% of these people died. Most cases have been linked to 6 countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula; however, two cases were confirmed in the United States, none in Maryland.
CDC continues to closely monitor the MERS-CoV situation globally and work with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads, and how infections might be prevented. The risk to the general public is extremely low. For the most current information about MERS Co-V, please visit the CDC website.
Zika Virus Disease
Zika virus is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika can also be transmitted through sex and from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Symptoms can last for several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:
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Are you prepared for a Zombie Pandemic? The CDC has started a campaign to help you prepare for zombies, or for any other public health emergency that might happen. The great thing about being prepared is that you need the same things if you're preparing for zombies, a hurricane, or winter weather! Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared!
For more information about preparing for zombies (or whatever might happen!), check out the CDC's graphic novel, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic."