Risk of Ebola Virus in California “Extremely Low”

There have been many stories on the news about the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). EVD is an infectious disease caused by the Ebola virus. While it is a very serious disease, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), it is important to note, “the risk of the spread of EVD in California is extremely low.” As of this printing, no confirmed cases have been identified in California. As the CDPH says, “our advanced health care system has appropriate protocols in place to prevent the spread of this often deadly disease. We should be aware of the disease, its symptoms and its potential, but it is extremely unlikely that Ebola poses a public health risk to Californians.”

In addition, the state has issued a quarantine order for anyone who has traveled to an Ebola virus affected area (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in Africa) AND has had contact with a person with a confirmed case of the EVD.

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure and include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and abnormal bleeding. According to the CDPH, important facts about Ebola include:

  • Current science shows that people CANNOT get EVD through the air, food, or water.
  • Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated.
  • Persons are not contagious until they develop symptoms.
  • Persons at highest risk for EVD include healthcare workers and family and friends of infected patients.
  • Early identification of cases is crucial.
  • Effective isolation of patients and appropriate infection control measures applied to any suspect EVD patient would contain any potential spread.

The CDPH has also set up a hotline, 855-421-5921 to respond to public questions about Ebola. It will be in operation from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As a reminder, there are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in California and no suspect cases.