Tulane Virology Expert: No US Danger of Ebola, But 'Be Vigilant'

Tuesday, 05 Aug 2014 06:44 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Americans are in no danger of facing an Ebola epidemic — for now, says Robert Garry, a doctor of virology at Tulane University School of Medicine.

"The American people don't have to worry about this being a major outbreak,'' Garry said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"[But] the more people that get infected and the longer this is allowed to spread, the chances for that scenario happening are increased. There's just no two ways about it."

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"So, we need to be vigilant in our developed countries, we need to watch out for people coming from those countries and have the symptoms of Ebola and test them. That's what we need to do.''

Garry's caution came as the world continues to try to contain the Ebola crisis in west Africa.

The latest figures from the World Health Organization record 1,603 cases of Ebola in the west African outbreak and 887 deaths — giving a death rate of just over 55 percent.

Two Americans inflicted with the virus have been returned to the U.S. for treatment.

"This Ebola virus is not quite as lethal as some of the other viruses that have emerged in central Africa. So, people tend to stay healthier a little bit longer, and that's actually part of the problem in west Africa,'' Garry said.

"People are ambulatory, they walk around a little longer and they can spread the disease to other people easier because of that.''

He said that while an experimental drug is being used to treat Ebola, an approved prescription drug could be years off.

"To get it approved by the FDA, they're going to have to be proven to be safe, they're going to have to be proven to be effective, and that's a process that takes several years. Hopefully, we can accelerate that process,'' Garry said.

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