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CDC: Ebola not a significant threat to United States

The current outbreak of the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus is the deadliest strain. Infected people will show flu-like symptoms and can pass the virus through an exchange of bodily fluids.
By Aileen Graef   |   July 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, July 29 (UPI) -- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday that it is unlikely that the Ebola outbreak in Africa will spread to the United States.

The outbreak has caused international concern as it has spread through West Africa in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia. Concern were heightened in the U.S. after two American aid workers were infected in Liberia. The CDC tried to allay the fears of a U.S. outbreak during a call with reporters.

"No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low," CDC spokesman Stephan Monroe said in a teleconference with journalists. "I want to underscore that Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population."

Though it maintains that risk is low, the CDC is sending 12 staff members to the region to manage a database of the infected patients and track down anyone that possibly came in contact. It will also rotate staff members every 30 days until the virus is contained.

If someone does enter the country with an undetected Ebola infection, the risk of an outbreak remains low due to the facilities and procedures available in the U.S.

"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 blood borne infections," Kathryn Jacobsen, an infectious diseases expert from George Mason University, said in an email to the Huffington Post. "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."

The current condition of the U.S. aid workers is unknown, but family members who had been staying with one of infected patients have since returned to the United States are under a 21-day fever watch.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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