Ebola, Crossing Borders in Africa, Could Land in US
By Katie Moisse
Apr 1, 2014
An Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 78 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could land in the U.S., health officials warned today.
Symptoms of the disease, such as fever, red eyes and bleeding, can take up to three weeks to appear — ample time for an unwitting victim to travel outside the West African hot zone.
“It’s true that anyone with an illness is just one plane ride away from coming to the U.S.,” said John O’Connor, spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But we have protections in place.”
Airline workers are trained to spot symptoms and quarantine officers at 20 major U.S. airports like New York City’s JFK are ready to respond to an in-flight illness. The CDC has also deployed a five-person team to help contain the outbreak on the ground in Guinea, O’Connor said. They arrived Monday night.
“There’s nothing to prevent someone traveling here asymptomatically during the incubation period,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who served as acting director of the CDC during the swine flu outbreak. “It’s one of the reasons we have a vested interest in helping to control outbreaks where they start.”