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Published On: Tue, Jul 29th, 2014

‘Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population’: CDC

During a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) telebriefing Monday (Telebriefing starts at the 36 minute markon the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Deputy Director, National Center for Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Dr. Stephan Monroe, Ph.D. addressed several issues concerning Americans about this large outbreak.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

“For the last few months, the CDC and World Health Organization and other partners have been actively engaged in response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.  Since the first report surface in March, there have been more than 1,201 cases reported and unfortunately 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Monroe said.  This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa. 

“It’s a rapidly changing situation and we expect there will be more cases in these countries in the coming weeks and months. The response to this outbreak will be more of a marathon than a sprint.”

Reassuring the American public Dr. Monroe notes, “I want to underscore that Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population.  Transmission is through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected person or exposure objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions.  Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. The mortality rate in some outbreaks can be as high as 90 percent, but in this outbreak, it is currently around 60 percent, indicating that some of our early treatment efforts may be having an impact.”

Monroe updated reporters on the CDC’s response to the outbreak and the situation with two American health providers sickened with Ebola in Africa. “One of the healthcare workers, a physician who worked with Ebola patients in the hospital, is symptomatic and in isolation.  The other health care worker developed fever but no other signs of illness. The physician’s family had been living with him in Liberia. Thankfully, the family members had returned to the United States before the doctor got sick and therefore are not at risk for contracting Ebola or spreading it to anyone here. Out of an abundance of caution, the family is currently on a 21 day fever watch. I want to emphasize that Ebola isn’t contagious until symptoms appear.”

“No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low. It’s more likely that the countries surrounding Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone may see cases because of the wide geographic spread of this outbreak, Monroe said.

“While it’s possible that someone could become infected with the Ebola virus in Africa and then get on a plane to the United States, it’s very unlikely that they would be able to spread the disease to fellow passengers. The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of ill people, and indirect contact – for example with needles and other things that may be contaminated with these fluids. Most people who become infected with Ebola are those who live with and care for people who have already caught the disease and are showing symptoms.”

Despite the very low risk presented, Monroe says the CDC needs to be prepared–” We are actively working to educate American healthcare workers about how to isolate patients and how they can protect themselves from infection. Today, we are sending out a Health Alert Notice to remind U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus.” For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Dr. Kent Brantly reported in ‘grave condition’ as he battles Ebola - The Global Dispatch says:

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