Health Care

NC Ebola hotline has new phone number

North Carolina has a new Ebola hotline, where the public can get information about the deadly viral disease.

The Carolinas Poison Center has been answering calls about the disease since early last month, using its existing hotline. Wednesday, it announced a dedicated number, 1-844-836-8714, where nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The center had fielded 279 calls about Ebola as of early this month. Questions have covered topics such as how Ebola is acquired and spread and what symptoms suggest an infection.

Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluid from someone who is not only infected with the virus but also showing symptoms. Those symptoms include a fever greater than 100.4 degrees, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

The poison center is operated by Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte and available to residents for free statewide. The Ebola hotline is a joint venture of the center and the state Department of Health and Human Services.