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Fears of U.S. Ebola Outbreak Unwarranted, Experts Say
Date:8/6/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The decision to bring two American aid workers infected with Ebola back to the United States has kicked up controversy, causing some to fear a local outbreak of the killer virus.

But experts in infectious disease say there's close to no chance that Dr. Kent Brantly or Nancy Writebol will cause an Ebola outbreak on these shores.

"The risk of spreading it from those two people approximates zero," said Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital and an expert on Ebola.

However, according to CNN, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has received hate email and angry phone calls over the decision.

Prominent commentators, including billionaire Donald Trump, also have questioned the wisdom of bringing the aid workers home. "Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days -- Now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!" Trump said in one tweet, CNN reported.

It's understandable that the news might initially alarm some people, Norman said.

"Anything new that's a horrible infectious disease is going to generate a lot of questions and a lot of concerns," he said.

But while Ebola is a very deadly virus -- already responsible for 932 deaths in the West African outbreak -- it is not an easy one to catch, experts stressed.

First of all, the virus is not airborne, so you can't get it by simply being in close proximity to a patient, as you might a cold or a flu virus. Ebola only spreads through direct contact with a victim's body fluids, explained Dr. Ambreen Khalil, an infectious disease specialist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

That means it's very
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Fears of U.S. Ebola Outbreak Unwarranted, Experts Say
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