New and Emerging Diseases

There are always new diseases being reported all over the world, below are a few new diseases that are developing at this time:

Ebola: What You Need to Know


Ebola is a group of viruses that cause severe disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after coming into contact with the virus, though 8-10 days is most common. Depending on which virus a person becomes sick with, there is a 50-90% chance of death once they become ill.

The virus is spread through contact of the body secretions (blood, diarrhea, vomit, spit, tears, or open sores on the skin) of those that are sick with Ebola. It cannot be spread through coughing or sneezing, nor can it be spread through food or water. Although people can take up to 3 weeks to become ill after contact with the virus, they cannot spread the disease if they don’t have any symptoms.

Currently there is an outbreak of Ebola in Africa in the countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) has released a warning against any unnecessary travel to those countries at this time.

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Avian Influenza H5N2


A new “bird flu” has been affecting birds in the United States – Avian Influenza H5N2. This flu virus began showing up in late 2014 and has been found in 21 states so far. The virus has sickened domestic, backyard and wild birds, as well as those in commercial farms. So far the virus has not gotten any people ill. The CDC recommends:

  • As a general precaution, people should avoid wild birds and watch them only from a distance; avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died; and avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.
  • People who have had contact with infected bird(s) should watch for possible symptoms (for example, pink eye or flu-like symptoms: body aches, fever, chills).
  • People who have had contact with birds known to be infected may also be given medication to stop any possible illness.
  • There is no evidence that any people have become ill with H5N2 by eating properly cooked poultry products.

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