8 Ebola Terms You Need to Know

TIME

Incubation period: The time between exposure to a virus and when symptoms start to present, which is two to 21 days in Ebola’s case.

Symptomatic: A patient becomes symptomatic when they present symptoms of Ebola, which include fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea.

Contagious: People with strains of the Ebola virus in their blood are only contagious when they are presenting with symptoms (see above). The virus cannot be transmitted before a person is symptomatic, which means that people on the same airplane as Thomas Eric Duncan could not have caught the virus from him.

R0: Also called R-nought, it refers to the “estimated reproduction number for infectious diseases.” Put more simply, it’s a formula predicting how contagious a virus is. NPR has a handy graphic on their site showing that Ebola has an R0 of 2, meaning the likely number of people…

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