Published on October 13, 2014

Local doctor breaks down what you should know about Ebola

Ebola: fact vs. fiction

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Doctors say you’re more likely to die from getting hit by a train than contracting Ebola.

With possible cases of Ebola making headlines, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, but News4Jax has asked a local doctor to break down what people should know.

Health experts want people to keep in mind that there is only one way to get the deadly virus -- close, intimate contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluid.

“This heightened public awareness is leading people into emergency rooms and into their doctor’s offices saying, 'I’m concerned,’” said Dr. Steve Nauman, the chief medical officer at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Nauman said while the virus is extremely infectious, it isn’t extremely contagious.

“It isn’t airborne, you’re not going to get it by someone sneezing on you, and we’re entering the flu season, so we’re going to have people with the flu who are going to be very concerned,” said Nauman. “You have to understand this is not the way the virus is transmitted.”

The transmission only happens with direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, or something contaminated like a needle or syringe.

If someone were to enter St. Vincent’s hospital showing Ebola-like symptoms, the staff has a very specific plan. The same goes for other hospitals, too. Part of the plan is evaluating a patient’s symptoms, which typically include:






•Red eyes


•Stomach pain

•Difficulty breathing

So as doctors continue to build on their active response plan, they encourage everyone to take a deep breath and arm themselves with education instead of panic.

"I think one of the most important things to remember is that we are very blessed that we have very healthy public hygiene,” said Gail Green, the chief nursing officer at St. Vincent’s. “We have access to clean water. We have access to modern healthcare facilities. So our ability to treat and diagnose this disease is very, very different from those in the South African area.”

St. Vincent’s is also putting up fliers around its emergency rooms, encouraging anyone who recently traveled internationally, had close contact with anyone ill, or experiencing symptoms to contact staff right away.

Doctors said symptoms usually appear eight to 10 days after exposure, but the incubation period can be anywhere from two to 21 days.