Understanding Ebola: Diluting the myths

Posted at 5:07 PM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 17:07:00-04

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAAY) - Whether it is while lunching with friends or posting on social media, Ebola has been a hot topic.

With so much conversation, the facts often get lost in the dialogue.

So, we asked our Facebook users, what do you want to know about the virus?

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun was up to the task.

Gena Roberts Baker: How do you know it's Ebola and not the flu?

"So, we usually have a specific testing for Ebola virus, that's how we confirm it's Ebola virus." says Dr. Ali Hassoun.

In terms of symptoms, Hassoun says Ebola can resemble the flu at first with fever, aches and nausea.

It will divert with rashes and bleeding.

"We are really good at knowing and screening these patients. So, we have a better way of earlier diagnosis compared to West Africa." says Hassoun.

Catching Ebola is also not as simple as coming down with the flu.

Can you get it from being near a person with the disease?

That is false.

Ebola is transmitted from bodily fluid like blood or mucus.

You need direct contact with a symptomatic person.

Can you be exposed to the virus and not know it?

That is true.

It can take a few days, up to 21 for Ebola symptoms to appear.

Carol Herrera: Would taking to boost or having a good immune system make you less vulnerable to it? Or at least a higher survival rate...or it doesn't matter?

"So, if you have a good immune system you will be able to fight it better. the trick is if you develop symptoms get attention early." says Hassoun.

Pundits say the man in Texas who tested positive may have exposed others, but Hassoun says the United States is prepared with the proper infrastructure to deal with patients if more are diagnosed.

Brandy Arhelger Nix: How likely is it Ebola can or will become an epidemic in the US?

"From what we know information at this time, it will be very low." says Hassoun.