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No need to panic: What you need to know about Ebola

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Members of Doctors Without Borders work to treat an Ebola outbreak. Doctors, wearing yellow protective suits, treat a child in this image.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A deadly virus that has people across the globe on edge is causing quite a panic.

However, health experts say being aware of the facts is the easiest way to avoid contracting the virus.

The Ebola virus was first discovered 1976 and was named after the Ebola River, where it was discovered.

Ebola is extremely infectious but not extremely contagious.

It is considered moderately contagious because the virus is not transmitted through the air.

The most contagious diseases, like measles or influenza, are airborne.

Humans can be infected if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person.

“Remember, Ebola doesn’t spread before someone gets sick,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Ebola does not spread from someone who’s not infectious. It does not spread from someone who doesn’t have fever and other symptoms.”

Officials say Ebola is spread the same way as Hepatitis C, but is not as infectious.

Humans can also be exposed to the virus by butchering infected animals.

While the exact reservoir of Ebola viruses is still unknown, researchers believe the most likely natural hosts are fruit bats.

Symptoms of Ebola include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain

Some people may have a rash, red eyes, chest pain, sore throat, difficulty breathing or swallowing and bleeding.

The common symptoms are very similar to the flu virus.

Typically, symptoms appear 8 to 10 days after exposure to the virus, but the incubation period can span two to 21 days.

According to the World Health Organization, “there is no specific treatment or vaccine,” and the fatality rate can be up to 90 percent.

According to the CDC’s website, “Health care providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.”

According to NPR, Ebola is not as infectious as a lot of other diseases.

“Even in the current epidemic in West Africa, where the virus has been out of control, each person who has gotten sick has spread Ebola to only about two others, on average,” NPR said.

To see exactly how contagious Ebola is, visit NPR’s website.

Doctors say there are a lot of other health conditions that should concern Americans.

Business Insider analyzed the estimated deaths in the United States from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8.

Courtesy: Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from CDC, American Lung Association, and GunPolicy.org

Courtesy: Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from CDC, American Lung Association, and GunPolicy.org

It found that more Americans died during that time span from heart disease than those who were killed by Ebola, lung cancer, diabetes, influenza, car accidents, guns and unintentional falls combined.