Facts About Ebola
Updated February 18, 2016, 11:30 a.m.
Ebola is a serious virus; however, it's important to know that it is far less contagious than many other organisms, like measles and influenza. Although a case in the city has been confirmed, the risk to people in New York City and at Columbia remains extremely low. The patient is being treated while following all appropriate and necessary protocols.
The Ebola Preparedness Working Group, a sub-committee of the Emergency Management Operations Team, recognizes that many members of the Columbia community have questions and concerns. Below, see our answers to several common questions.
We will continue to update this information periodically. See all University announcements on this topic.
Note: Clinical personnel, including faculty and staff at Columbia University Medical Center, should refer to the ColumbiaDoctors Intranet (https://secure.cumc.columbia.edu/columbiadoctors/ebola.html) or the NewYork-Presbyterian Infonet (http://infonet.nyp.org/EPI/Pages/EID.aspx) for detailed information about protocols, precautions, training and resources that apply to them.
Note: The University has issued a Policy for Travel to and Visits from Ebola-affected Countries, which provides guideance for both University affiliates who must travel to the affected region, and for non-affiliated visitors to the University who are arriving from the affected region.
Common Questions About Ebola
- What is Ebola, also known as “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever”?
- What is my risk of coming down with Ebola?
- How is Ebola different from influenza or other common diseases?
- How is Ebola transmitted?
- Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?
- What are the symptoms?
- I have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea—do I have Ebola?
- I work at the Medical Center or another University healthcare site. Where can I find more information?
- I work in maintenance at the University. Should I be worried about contracting Ebola?
- If I am not a healthcare worker, how do I protect myself against Ebola?
- What if I need to travel to an area affected by Ebola?
Further Information and Resources
CUMC experts in infectious disease and public health are keeping the public informed about the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the U.S., and the potential of the virus to spread. For the latest information from Columbia’s experts, visit:
The New York City Department of Health Ebola update page is a central resource on the city's response.
The CDC has a comprehensive set of questions and answers, addressing concerns about outbreaks in the United States, travelers returning to the U.S., and U.S. hospital preparations, online at:
The White House has a fact list and series of questions and answers, online at:
Developed in partnership with the Mailman School of Public Health.
Additional sources: whitehouse.gov, cdc.gov.