CDC Director: Scale of Ebola Crisis Unprecedented - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

CDC Director: Scale of Ebola Crisis Unprecedented

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A U.S. health official warns that the current Ebola crisis in West Africa is on pace to sicken more people than all other previous outbreaks of the disease combined.
 
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the outbreak is unprecedented in part because it's in a region of Africa that never has dealt with Ebola before. He says the outbreak's two main drivers are lax infection control during patient care and risky burial practices.
 
He told a congressional hearing Thursday that the outbreak can be stopped with tried-and-true public health measures -- but it will be laborious.
 
Frieden says it's possible a traveler could arrive in the U.S. infected with Ebola, but he is confident there will not be a large Ebola outbreak here.

Meanwhile, officials in western Africa are taking increasingly desperate measures to stop the spread of Ebola.
 
In Liberia, troops in full combat gear were deployed in the rain today to block people traveling to the country's capital from rural areas hit by the deadly disease. In Sierra Leone, military forces are also being used to stop what's called "the unauthorized movement of Ebola-infected persons."
 
Those two countries account for more than 60% of the nearly 1,000 deaths from Ebola since March.
 
And - officials say Africans seeking a drug to help contain the virus will have to wait months before a potentially life-saving experimental treatment is produced in even small amounts. The treatment is currently being used on two infected Americans who were flown from Africa to Atlanta.
 
The health minister of Nigeria told reporters today that he has asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about access to the drug. A CDC spokesman said yesterday that "there are virtually no doses available."
 
That isn't satisfying people in the countries hard-hit by Ebola. One man in Sierra Leone said, "Americans are very selfish." He said, "They only care about the lives of themselves and no one else."   (AP)


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