West Africa is currently experiencing the worst Ebola outbreak in history with over 887 deaths as of Aug. 4. With this tragically growing death toll, and the lack of a cure for the virus, fear and anxiety over the spread of Ebola is at an all-time high. The threat of an outbreak on other continents is possible not only due to air travel, but also the arrival of Kent Brantly in Atlanta, Brantly, is the American doctor who was infected with Ebola while treating patients in Liberia.

Though quarantined and isolated, Brantly is not the only American affected with the deadly virus, similar to Brantlay’s contradiction of the virus, Nancy Writebol, a missionary working with patients in Liberia is now infected. Writebol, will join Brantly at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment on Tuesday. In addition to these two confirmed victims, more fears were raised when a patient at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York was tested for the virus on Monday.

The patient was exhibiting Ebola like symptoms consisting of high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms; he was placed in isolation to undergo necessary tests. While the precaution is necessary, Dr. Jeremy Boal of the Mount Sinai Medical Center stated, “odds are” it’s not Ebola, and he hopes for a definitive answer in the next day or so. With all the reports and media updates, fact and fiction regarding the Ebola virus can sometimes can confusing and misinterpreted. Check out these facts about the Ebola virus, it’s spread, and treatment direct from the CDC, also be sure to read the myths about that circulate when the Ebola virus is discussed they are just as important to know.

The first important fact to know about the Ebola virus is that it does not change nearly as fast as other viruses. The CDC and medical professional recognize the Ebola virus strain that is currently responsible for the devastating outbreak in West Africa. Ebola was first discovered in 1976, and while other viruses can change and transform, Ebola has not, meaning the strain has stayed consistent. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, stated, "The Ebola virus today is acting the same way Ebola viruses have always acted.”

The next fact is probably the most significant, the way the Ebola virus spreads is through the contact of an infected person’s bodily fluids. The CDC clarifies that you cannot catch Ebola through water, through the air, or through food, in order to contract the virus one would have to come in contact with an infected patient’s sweat, vomit, diarrhea, blood, urine, or semen. Obviously this means doctors and other medical professionals are at a high risk when treating patients, in addition hospital workers and family members of patients can also be in a high risk situation due to bedding or clothing of an infected victim. Due to Ebola’s ability to stay alive on a surface for several days, if someone touches vomit soaked sheets, or sweat drenched clothing of a victim and then does not wash their hands, and eats, they have just ingested the virus and will became sick.

Another important fact to know is that despite the ever-rising death toll in West Africa, people can survive Ebola. The World Health Organization revealed that Ebola outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent, and there is no licensed vaccine for the treatment of Ebola yet. Patients that contract the disease require intensive supportive care as their best for of treatment, the main debilitation of this virus is dehydration and patients will be given oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.