The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has left more than 700 dead to date and more than 1300 infected. With two Americans infected and one already being treated as the first case of Ebola on US soil, there are a lot of questions about if and how the disease can spread.
NBC Connecticut spoke to an expert of infectious diseases at one local hospital, who said Americans should not be too alarmed.
Dr. Ulysses Wu, Chief of Infectious Diseases at St. Francis Hospital, emphasized that hospitals across the country are taking precautions, and the facility handling the cases is well prepared.
“There is no need for the public to worry about an Ebola crisis happening in the US at this time,” he said. “There has been increased vigilance for travelers coming from this area who may be ill.”
Health officials say Ebola is a virus transmitted through bodily fluids. According to the CDC, it is severe and often fatal. Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. Some may see red eyes, chest pain, and bleeding inside and outside the body.
The disease can be difficult to diagnosed because the early symptoms are general and can be misdiagnosed. Experts say the best measure you can take is to stay away.
“The basic precaution is to avoid any of these areas at this moment in terms of travel,” Wu said.
For St. Francis, it’s business as usual, but the hospital is notifying its staff to be extra vigilant when assessing patient symptoms.
According to the CDC, Ebola is treated with supportive therapy. There is no cure for Ebola – just experimental treatments.