45ºF

Ebola: What you need to know!

BOSTON – There's been just a handful of Ebola cases in the U.S. but they've led to near hysteria in some places. But now, at the height of flu season, experts believe there could be even more concern.

But just how concerned do we really need to be? To find out, we caught up with infectious disease expert Robert Finberg, MD, of UMass Medical School. "We're obviously quite concerned about controlling it. But I think we are prepared to do that" Dr. Finberg told Ivanhoe.

There are many questions and speculations surrounding the virus, like can you catch Ebola by breathing it in? Dr. Finberg explained, "If people want to be reassured, it's spread by contact. It's not airborne. So therefore being on a plane with somebody with Ebola is not a big risk."

Dr. Finberg says you must have direct contact with someone's bodily fluids in order to contract Ebola. "Flu on the other hand, you can get because somebody sneezes on you in a plane" he said.

In reality, the flu is a lot more common than Ebola. "In terms of the magnitude, 50-thousand to 100-thousand people will die every year of flu in the United States" Dr. Finberg told Ivanhoe.

So far two people have died with Ebola in the U.S. but could Ebola mutate and become airborne? "Any virus could do anything, and frankly, we're all at risk for some new virus. But there's no particular reason to be worried that this one will all the sudden mutate and become much more virulent" Dr. Finberg told Ivanhoe.

Something else you may not know, Ebola can be sexually transmitted and survive up to 90 days in a man's semen even after he's recovered from the virus.

Contributors to this news report include:  Jennifer Jefcoat, Field Producer; Cortni Spearman, News Assistant and Jamie Koczan, Videographer/Editor.