According to a statement released by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses no threat outside of the region.
On Monday, CDC spokesperson Stephan Monroe Ph.D., the deputy director at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, stated:
“No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low. I want to underscore that Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population.”
The CDC has deployed 12 staff members to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to aid in containing the outbreak. So far, 1,201 people have been infected with Ebola and another 672 lives were claimed by the virus. The CDC members will not directly interact with any infected patients. They will help manage databases and train teams to identify those who may have been exposed to symptomatic patients. The CDC plans to cycle in new staffers every 30 days until the virus is stopped.
To combat the potential spread of Ebola, countries like Nigeria have begun screening passengers for symptoms if they fly into Lagos on international flights. Lagos is the site of the country’s first recorded Ebola case.
But if by chance an infected person were to slip through the cracks and leave an outbreak country, the chances of an outbreak in the U.S. are very slim, explains infectious diseases expert and associate professor of epidemiology at George Mason University, Kathryn Jacobsen.
“Here in the United States, first responders and hospital staff all have access to gloves and other personal protective equipment, like gowns and face masks, that they can use to protect themselves from bloodborne infections,” said Jacobsen. “Most hospitals in the United States have special isolation units where patients with diseases like Ebola can be kept safely away from other patients, visitors, and staff.”
In contrast, the West African countries where the Ebola virus has spread don’t have the supplies or facilities necessary to combat the disease. Because of this, many health workers, including two Americans working in Liberia, have been infected with the virus.
The strain of the Ebola virus that is currently circulating in West Africa is the Zaire strain. It is the most deadly strain of the virus. Early symptoms include fever, head aches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and vomiting. The symptoms are similar to common infections like the flu. Ebola virus can also cause red eyes, bleeding from the eyes, ears, mouth, rectum, and rashes. The virus can be passed by blood and bodily fluids like sweat and urine. However, only a person exhibiting symptoms can pass on the virus to others.
This has become the largest Ebola outbreak in history.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.