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

unlikely a person will contract Ebola just by being in the same room, airplane, bus or elevator as someone with the virus -- particularly if the person is not yet showing symptoms of illness from Ebola, which include bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea.

"Let's say you come across someone at the airport who is not symptomatic," Khalil said. "Unless you somehow are exposed to their blood, you are not going to get it from them."

The United States also differs in many crucial ways from West Africa that make an Ebola outbreak here both unlikely and more easily contained.

People often live in very close contact with each other in Africa, with a dozen or more family members in the same house, experts noted. Also, West African burial practices often involve family members washing and preparing the body, which puts people in direct contact with Ebola-laden body fluid, Khalil and Norman said.

In the United States, people live much more spread out, and professionals handle the preparation of a body for burial.

Health care and public health services in the United States also are much more savvy when it comes to controlling infectious disease, Khalil said.

Doctors and nurses are quick to put sick people in protective isolation, and to protect themselves with bio-suits.

"Even people who are taking care of them have a minimal risk of becoming infected," Khalil said of the two patients being treated in Atlanta. "Every day we take care of people with influenza and active TB, which both are more infectious than Ebola."

That said, Norman added that he fully expects Ebola to come into the United States and Europe at some point in the future. However, being able to treat Brantly and Writebol in the United States actually gives doctors and other medical staff valuable experience, so that they can learn more about the virus and make better preparations.

"We know what we're dealing with now and can deal with it," he said. "I think we're go
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Fears of U.S. Ebola Outbreak Unwarranted, Experts Say
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