Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is very low, one UW expert says the problem has been at the forefront of their minds and precautions are being taken.
“Well, I think, we in infection control and preparedness, we’ve been worried for a while,” says Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. “Part of the reason for that is that a lot of preparedness plans had to be put in place and, I think, for places that are still working on those preparedness plans it’s time to really escalate the level of preparation.”
The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. was found in a man visiting relatives in Texas, after flying-in from Liberia.
Safdar says it’s inevitable that the U.S. will see more cases, but she’s confident with our more-advanced and better-prepared health care system.
“The thing that is working to our advantage is that the infrastructure is already, you know, a million miles away from what the infrastructure is in Africa. So, there are many processes already in place to protect us from other types of emerging pathogens and Ebola is one of them.”
Individuals can help stop the spread the virus by being aware of potential symptoms and maintaining good hygiene. Ebola is not an airborne disease; it’s spread through contact with body fluids of an infected person. The man in Dallas remains in isolation in serious condition.
Early symptoms include fever and nausea, but can be mistaken for other illnesses.
The Obama Administration is spreading information about the virus on its social media accounts, saying “You cannot get Ebola through the air, water or food in the U.S.” The official Twitter account of the White House goes on to say, “Ebola can only spread from contact with the blood or body fluids of a person or animal who is sick with or has died from the disease.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 30, 2014
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:17