Precautions for Ebola disease

Precautions in place for spread of disease, including Ebola

October 6, 2014

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County is taking precautions following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmation of the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. Garfield County Public Health officials are in conversation with state, regional and local partners and stakeholders to address preparedness in the event of the disease affecting anyone in our area.

“We have talked with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) staff, which receives guidance from the CDC,” said Yvonne Long, Garfield County public health director. “Locally, we are planning and coordinating with local hospital infection control systems, regional epidemiologists and healthcare providers. We will address any public health issues that occur locally, as we have with other illnesses. We have preparedness plans, are coordinating now and will act as needed.”

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history, and is affecting multiple countries in West Africa. About half the people who have gotten Ebola in this outbreak have died.

The risk of Ebola spreading in the United States is low. A person infected with Ebola can’t spread the disease until symptoms appear. Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person.

Because a person infected with Ebola can’t spread the disease until symptoms appear, the timing of the symptoms is a consideration. The time from exposure to when signs or symptoms of the disease appear (the incubation period) is two to 21 days, but the average time is eight to ten days. Signs of Ebola include fever (higher than 101.5° F) and symptoms like severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:

  • Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola; or
  • Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.

Ebola is not spread through air, water, or food.

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

People who have traveled to countries affected by Ebola, or think they may have been exposed to a person ill with the disease may be at risk. If signs of illness shown above occur, seek immediate medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a very extensive library of information regarding this Ebola outbreak and is updating it daily online at