Md. Medical Facilities Taking Precautions As Ebola-Stricken Arrive In U.S.

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Out of control. World health experts say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control it.

Meantime, the first of two American missionaries infected with the virus is expected to arrive in the United States for treatment on Saturday.

Maryland health officials are also taking precautions.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the growing epidemic.

Those sickened missionaries will be flown to a hospital in Atlanta. It is the first time the Ebola virus has ever been inside the United States.

More than 1,000 people have been sickened with Ebola in West Africa. Among the infected are American missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. They’ll be flown back to the U.S. separately in a medical charter plane inside a containment pod. They’ll land at a military base before being taken to an Atlanta hospital.

“We have taken every precaution that we know and that our colleagues at the CDC know to ensure there is no spread of this virus pathogen,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, Emory University Hospital.

The patients will be kept in an isolation unit.

Meantime, the CDC is advising against travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where more than 700 Ebola patients have died.

“Even if a traveler accidentally brings the virus into the United States, the odds that it’s going to spread widely are very, very low,” said Dr. Jon Lapook, CBS medical correspondent.

In Maryland, state health officials have put out a warning to medical facilities to be on the lookout for any signs of Ebola.

“The risk of having Ebola in Maryland is low, but we want to be prepared for that should it happen,” said Dr. David Blythe, Maryland Health Department.

Even though chances are slight, the state is working with the CDC to make sure all Maryland hospitals are on alert. State officials say they are ready to assist.

“To help with doing things like laboratory testing and make sure we all have the appropriate guidance for how to best manage people who might have, or do have, Ebola infections,” said Dr. Blythe.

Officials stress they don’t believe there is any public health risk in the U.S.

The World Health Organization is launching a $100 million response to the Ebola outbreak, sending hundreds of health care workers into West Africa.

The U.S. Peace Corps has already evacuated staff from West Africa. Now the Church of Latter-day Saints is also reassigning nearly 300 missionaries to other countries.

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