Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Ebola Virus: How Contagious?



Airborne -- reproductive rate 12 to 18

The measles virus spreads through the air when infected people breathe, cough, or sneeze. Any person exposed to the virus who is not immune generally gets the disease. It is less common in countries with good vaccination coverage.

The virus typically grows in the cells lining the lungs and the back of the throat, leading to fever, runny nose, cough, and an extensive rash.

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. nearly 15 years ago, according to the CDC. Even so, outbreaks still happen. In 2014, 288 people were confirmed to have had measles as of May 23. No deaths have occurred this year in the U.S. from measles.

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Droplets, airborne -- reproductive rate 12 to 17

Whooping cough is highly contagious. The bacteria that cause the disease attach to the tiny hair-like extensions (known as cilia) in the respiratory system, leading to the violent coughing that can make it hard to breathe.

It's spread when infected people cough or sneeze and others breathe in the bacteria.

Vaccination protects people, but outbreaks still happen. In 2012, for instance, more than 48,000 people with whooping cough were reported to the CDC, with 20 deaths. Most deaths were in infants younger than 3 months.  Vaccination should begin at age 2 months, the CDC advises. Adults, especially those who will be around infants, also need a pertussis booster.


Respiratory droplets -- reproductive rate 6 to 7

Diphtheria is an infection caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person, usually by coughing or sneezing.

Diphtheria is not typically a concern in the U.S., Adalja says, due to routine vaccination. When it does occur, diphtheria can kill 1 in 10 affected, according to the CDC.


Person to person -- reproductive rate 5 to 7

The polio virus spreads from person to person and invades the brain and spinal cord, sometimes leading to paralysis.

The virus is spread from the stool of an infected person or from droplets from a sneeze or cough. Toys and other objects contaminated with the virus can also spread the disease.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing