Expert: Americans Should Not Panic About Ebola

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 12:31 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Americans should not panic about the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa, but "careful steps" need to be taken to mitigate chances of contracting the deadly virus, Tevi Troy, former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and president of the American Health Policy Institute, told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"You might want to think twice about that trip to Africa that you were thinking of taking right now, especially to western Africa," he said on "America’s Forum." "If you are in contact with someone who had the disease, you may want to think a little more carefully about a) your interaction with that person, and  b) whether you go to public health officials afterwards."

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives careful consideration to what message it wants to convey to the public, according to Troy.

"Panic is a very bad thing and one of the things that panic leads to is the phenomenon known as the worried well," he said. "People run to the emergency rooms thinking they have the symptoms. It's like those medical students in the first year that think they have the symptoms of every disease they learn about."

On Wednesday, the CDC issued a "high alert" for the Ebola outbreak, the first time it has gone to a Level 1 response since the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, according to the New York Daily News.

High alert status means more careful watching of airports and travel into the United States, notifying hospitals about potential problems and notifying Washington and the CDC in Atlanta, when something questionable occurs, Troy said, noting that there are quarantined areas in American airports .

While Ebola is a very deadly disease, it’s very "manageable when you have an advanced health system," such as in the United States, he said. "We have good infection controls."

He added, "In Africa, it's not nearly as simple. You don't have these good public health measures, you don't have a lot of doctors and public health professionals."

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