Ebola: What You Need to Know

October 15, 2014

ebola3Hospitals all across the country, including Tallahassee Memorial, are monitoring the events surrounding Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas and implementing proactive practice measures that will ultimately minimize the spread of this disease.

As staff and community safety is a top priority, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is continually advancing Ebola protocol and personal protective equipment as needed, based on new developments from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Doctors Without Borders.  

Upon presentation to any access point at TMH, patients with fever and a travel history to Sub-Saharan Africa will immediately be placed in Standard, Contact, and Droplet Isolation in an Airborne Isolation Room. Tallahassee Memorial uses the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) decision Algorithm to assist with testing and monitoring of patients with suspected Ebola.  We also conduct and complete a CDC Ebola Consultation Record that is a detailed travel and health history. This greatly facilitates our communication with the Leon County Health Department and FDOH. They, in turn, communicate with the CDC and decide if Ebola testing is necessary.

We currently have personal protective equipment carts stocked and available if the need for enhanced personal protective equipment develops. Admission and placement of the patient will be determined based on their risk level.

About Ebola

The viral disease Ebola, also called hemorrhagic fever, was named after a river in the Congo near the village where the first known human-to-human transfer of the disease took place.

Signs and symptoms

A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. Symptoms usually begin eight to 10 days after a person has been exposed to an ill Ebola patient, but could show between two to 21 days after.
Typical signs and symptoms of Ebola infection are:

  • Fever (greater than 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

How is the virus spread?

The virus can enter the body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. When a person is sick with Ebola there are several ways the virus can be spread to others. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or food in the U.S.

  • Direct contact with the blood or body fluids (feces, saliva, urine, vomit, and semen) of the sick person.
  • Contact with objects (needles and syringes) that have been used and contain blood or body fluids of the infected person.


Currently, there are no specific vaccines or medicines (such as antiviral drugs) that have been proven to work against the Ebola virus. Sick patients are treated by providing relief to their symptoms as they appear. Typical treatment can involve providing intravenous (IV) fluids and monitoring body electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating other infections as they happen.

Where do I find additional information?

Centers for Disease Control

Florida Department of Health

Infectious Disease Society of America

World Health Organization  (WHO)

The WHO Situation Report webpage is an excellent source of information on the Ebola outbreak status in the countries affected.