BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The words ebola and uncontrolled is a dangerous combination. But that’s how health experts are characterizing the current outbreak in Africa.
Alex DeMetrick reports two Americans working there have become infected.
When it comes to caring for patients suffering from ebola in Africa, there are no shortcuts to staying safe.
Layers of protective gear are needed to keep from being exposed to blood and bodily fluids.
Dr. Kent Brantly and hygienist Nancy Writebol wore the gear routinely, while volunteering for the Samaritan’s Purse charity.
Both are now infected.
“It’s cumbersome and maybe hard to be 100 percent safe every minute, especially if you’re taking care of a lot of people,” said Dr. Diane Griffin, JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Griffin is an expert in infectious diseases at Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
She says when it comes to ebola, “there’s no cure. There’s no vaccine.”
And ebola kills 70 percent of those infected.
Brantly and Writebol were rushed to a hospital when their illness was diagnosed.
“They have fevers. They have body aches and pains. They’re not out of the woods yet,” said Ken Issacs, vice president of Samaritan’s Purse.
There are no hospitals with isolation wards or high tech labs where this outbreak is spreading, meaning no easy containment.
“It’s very hard in these rural areas, but anybody can get on an airplane and go anywhere,” Griffin said.
Brantly’s family flew back to the states a few days prior to his becoming infected.
“We have absolutely no reason to think that there has been any exposure at all to his family, but there are certain protocols we are going through in monitoring them,” Issacs said.
There is far more worry for Writebol and Brantly.
Worry that ebola could fly out of Africa on an international flight has brought increased surveillance at some but not all airports in the outbreak zone.
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