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Ebola outbreak unlikely in United States

Ebola is believed to have killed more than 650 people since July 23.
Ebola is believed to have killed more than 650 people since July 23.
J. Hagerty

An outbreak of Ebola has now spread from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa, but isn't expected to show up in the United States the Center of Disease Control (CDC) reports.

In fact, officials say there has never been a case of Ebola spreading to a developed nation.

"This is because people generally transmit the infection when they are very sick, have a high fever and a lot of symptoms,” said Dr. Kamiliny Kalahne, of Doctors Without Borders. “In these situations, they don't travel.”

Almost all victims of Ebola who do bring the virus to an developed country, are treated using advanced medicine that prevents infection and outbreak.

According to a CNN report, the American health system, for example, is better equipped to handle an Ebola outbreak than those in West Africa. Dr. Marty Cetron, of the CDC, says health officials here are able to diagnose a case of the virus and trace points of contact so it doesn't spread.

"Epidemics of disease are often followed by epidemics of fear and epidemics of stigma," Cetron said. "All of these things occur in a social context that can make containment very challenging."

Ebola, otherwise known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is not contagious until symptoms appear. Once they do, fever, headaches, vomiting and kidney failure can take over and spread quickly to others. Without immediate treatment, the virus has a 59-percent fatality rate. In some cases, the fatality rate is as high as 90 percent.

Officials say the best say to avoid contracting Ebola and preventing an outbreak is to avoid West African nations until the CDC has eliminated the threat. Those who have traveled to the region are urged to see a doctor immediately.

The outbreak in West Africa was reported last week, when Patrick Sawyer, an American working in Nigeria contracted the virus and died. His family is now raising money through their church to help the international community fight Ebola.

Since July 23, there have been 456 confirmed deaths from Ebola in West Africa.

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