A Texas doctor who is considered one of the world's leaders in Ebola research, says we need to chill out over fears of an Ebola 'epidemic' in the United States after two Americans who contracted the disease in West Africa were brought here for treatment, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
Dr. Tom Giesbert at the U.T. Medical Branch in Galveston has spent decades studying Ebola and working on a vaccine. He says Ebola is not spread casually, like the flu, and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is taking the most complete precautions he has ever seen.
"State of the art protective gear, special isolators under negative pressure," he said. "There is no such thing as zero chance of any trouble, but the odds are remote squared."
Dr. Giesbert says Ebola is only spread by person to person or person to animal contact, and that is not likely to happen in the U.S. He says many routine practices in Africa serve to spread the disease, which is why it is such a problem there.
"Burial practices and things like that, the touching of the body, and then you just have poor public health infrastructure."
Dr. Giesbert says Ebola is a serious disease, with no cure and no vaccine. But he says unlike common viruses, it cannot be contracted simply by being near an invested person.
"Things like influenza, those viruses can be transmitted through the air if you cough or sneeze," he said. "Ebola is not that kind of disease."