Influenza and Ebola: What is the Difference?



What is Influenza?

Influenza (flu) is a common infectious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and complications can lead to death.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with an Ebola virus. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred in some African countries since 1976.

How does Flu Spread?

The flu is spread generally by droplets made when people who have flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Viruses can also spread on surfaces, but this is less common. People with flu can spread the virus before and during their illness.

How does Ebola Spread?

Ebola can only be spread by direct contact with blood or body fluids from a person who is ill or who has died of Ebola. It can also spread through items like needles that have come in contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola. Ebola cannot spread through air or by water or food.

Who can get the Flu?

Anyone can get the flu. Some people like very young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with some health conditions—are at high risk of serious complications of flu.

Who can get Ebola?

People most at risk of getting Ebola are those with a travel history to countries with widespread transmission or exposure to a person with Ebola. Even Healthcare providers taking care of patients with Ebola and friends or family who have had unprotected direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola are at equal risk of getting Ebola.

What are the Signs/ Symptoms of Flu?

Signs and symptoms include: Fever, headache, muscle or body ache, fatigue (feeling very tired), cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose.

These usually develop within 2 days after exposure. Symptoms come on quickly and all at once.

What are the Signs/ Symptoms of Ebola?

Fever, severe headache, muscle pain, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea (after 3–6 days), weakness (can be severe), stomach ache, and unexplained bleeding or bruising are the signs and symptoms.

They can appear 2 to 21 days after exposure. The average time is 8 to 10 days. Symptoms of Ebola develop over several days and become progressively more severe.People with Ebola cannot spread the virus until symptoms appear

Last accessed on 27th January 2014

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