The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency on Friday, bringing more attention to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has claimed hundreds of lives.
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is rare, and the virus only spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. But it is especially deadly: in the current outbreak, more than 1,800 people have been infected and nearly 1,000 have died.
While the current outbreak is unique in many ways, it’s important not to panic. The CDC said Ebola poses no significant threat to the general population in the U.S., and they are confident they could contain an outbreak if one occurred. They encourage people living and traveling outside of the U.S. to avoid outbreak areas like Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
What is Aetna doing?
While local authorities and physicians are on the front line of treatment during pandemics and outbreaks, Aetna health professionals constantly monitor reports of infectious diseases including EVD. In an outbreak, we are in contact with the CDC, U.S. federal agencies, state and local health departments, health care providers, our employer customers and others so that we can appropriately promote awareness and prevention.
How can I learn more?
The best way to protect yourself is to learn about prevention, symptoms and treatment guidelines. For more information about the Ebola virus, visit the following resources:
- Questions and Answers on Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Ebola Virus Disease Fact Sheet from the World Health Organization
Visit these pages regularly for updates and alerts: