What if it happened here? Spokane doctor discusses the possibili - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

What if it happened here? Spokane doctor discusses the possibility

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Outbreak sparks concern country-wide Outbreak sparks concern country-wide
KHQ.com - The first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S. has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed thousands in West Africa could spread here. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and many people who get the disease die. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent Ebola. Below you'll find a comprehensive list of everything we know about the outbreak right now.

What is the current situation?
An outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing in Liberia since March 2014. Outbreaks are also occurring in Guinea and Sierra Leone; these outbreaks of Ebola are the largest and most complex in history. A small number of cases have also been reported in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Affected counties in Liberia include Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado (including the capital city of Monrovia), Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, and Sinoe. Civil unrest and violence against aid workers have been reported in West Africa as a result of the outbreak. The public health infrastructure of Liberia is being severely strained as the outbreak grows.

By the numbers
3,974 people have died due to the current outbreak. Prior to this, the largest outbreak was 425 dead in 2000 in Uganda. 5 Americans have been diagnosed with Ebola, including a cameraman for NBC News. There has been one official diagnosis of ebola on U.S. soil, a man in Dallas. 4 other people close to that man were in quarantine as of Wednesday evening.

Any travel restrictions?
Not yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because of unprecedented outbreaks of Ebola in those countries. CDC recommends that travelers to these countries protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are sick with Ebola.

The White House said Wednesday it will not impose travel restrictions or introduce new airport screenings to prevent additional cases of Ebola from entering the United States. Spokesman Josh Earnest said that current anti-Ebola measures, which include screenings in West African airports and observation of passengers in the United States, will be sufficient to prevent the “wide spread” of the virus. The chances of a U.S. epidemic are “incredibly low,” he said.

What if it happened here?
We spoke with doctors at Sacred Heart Medical Center, who echoed what White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: the chances of an outbreak on U.S. soil are low. But, Dr. Jeff Collins, Physician Chief Executive for Providence Health Care, says should it happen, they're ready. Providence hospitals have a series of procedures and precautions in place to reduce the spread of any virus, including ebola. Dr. Collins also says the level of health care in the U.S. is far above what people in Africa are receiving. He says that alone can be a difference-maker: not only would the spread be significantly less, but the recovery of people infected would be significantly higher.


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