Although no cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been reported in the state, the Illinois Hospital Association has compiled a fact sheet on the disease and the risks associated with it.
While the disease has ravaged countries in West Africa, as of Mid-October just eight cases of the disease have been reported in the United States, most involving persons who contracted the disease in West Africa and returned to the United States for treatment. One person died, four are in treatment and three have recovered.
The Hospital Association Fact Sheet explains that Ebola can be transmitted only by direct physical contact with an Ebola infected person. The disease cannot be transmitted through the air or by being near someone with Ebola, the Hospital Association reports; and persons are not contagious until symptoms actually appear.
The Fact Sheet urges anyone who has visited a West African nation affected by the outbreak to seek medical care should they develop any symptoms, including fever, headache, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain.
The Hospital Association reports that Illinois Hospitals will not ask patients about their immigration status and emphasizes they will treat patients regardless of ability to pay or immigration/citizenship status.
In addition to the Hospital Association Fact Sheet, information on Ebola is available from the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.