When there’s an outbreak of an infectious disease, you need to be prepared to recognize the symptoms. Learn about recent outbreaks you should be aware of.
You may be familiar with the massive Ebola outbreak that took place in 2014. As recently as this year, the CDC has still been working on containing the disease. Once an outbreak starts it can be hard to contain because it is spread by person-to-person contact. Ebola symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
The disease can be detected through blood tests up to three days after the onset of symptoms.
If your favorite athlete opted to skip the 2016 Summer Olympics this year, it may have been because of the Zika virus, which has been affecting Brazil’s citizens. Confirmed through a blood or urine test, Zika can be hard to diagnose because many people experience only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms are:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
People may also experience muscle pain or headaches. The virus can be passed through blood transfusions, mosquito bites, sexual contact, from mother to fetus, and virus presence in healthcare settings.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
The first confirmed case of MERS-CoV in the United States was in May 2014. Although it is relatively low risk here, it has been plaguing the Middle East since 2012. It causes the following symptoms in patients:
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosis for MERS-CoV is determined through PCR (polymer chain reaction) or serology testing. You are only likely to have the disease if you have been in close contact with someone else who is infected or are in a healthcare setting where a known case has been admitted.