This colorized image of an Ebola virus, captured with an electron microscope, was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is named after the Ebola River in the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Getty Images

On Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the first case of Ebola  diagnosed in the United States was that of a man who traveled from the West African country of Liberia to Dallas in September. And on Friday a person with Ebola-like symptoms was admitted to Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Both cases have sparked concern about a potential spread of the disease in the United States, prompting the CDC on Friday to release a fact sheet about the virus. Officials say there is a vast difference between the United States and parts of Africa where Ebola has killed thousands.

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Although Ebola is highly lethal, it is not highly contagious, the fact sheet says.

Here are the facts you should know about Ebola, as provided by the CDC:

What is Ebola? Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two days to 21 days after exposure to the virus, although eight to 10 days is most common.

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How is Ebola transmitted? Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected and symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

Can Ebola be transmitted through the air? No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.

Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water? No. Ebola is not transmitted through food in the United States. It is not transmitted through water.

Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms? No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. For the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms of the disease or has died of the disease.

Read more at the CDC.