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Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | CDC | treatment | containment

CDC's Frieden 'Quite Confident' There Will Be No U.S. Ebola Epidemic

By    |   Sunday, 05 October 2014 11:09 AM

Dr. Tom Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Sunday he is "quite confident" that there will not be an Ebola epidemic in the United States, but until the disease is controlled in Africa there is no way to say there is no chance of more cases popping up.

"Try as we might, until that outbreak is controlled in Africa we can't get the risk down to zero," Frieden told ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos Sunday.

However, he pointed out that the United States is much better equipped to control the disease's spread, so even if cases do pop up, he is confident they will be contained.

"We will stop it in its track," said Frieden. American hospitals have infection control procedures that are not in place in Africa, he said, and a public health system in place "that tracks and isolates people if they get the symptoms."

Frieden, who also appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, told Stephanopoulos that even though the Ebola virus is moving fast, "our response is moving very fast as well...but we wish it would move faster."

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But the way to stop the spread of the disease is to stop it in its tracks before it takes hold, and that takes isolating and testing potential cases if there is "an index of suspicion."

There have been at least 100 calls for investigation of potential cases, Frieden told Stephanopoulos, but the only case diagnosed with Ebola has been that of Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas.

Duncan who arrived in the United States from Liberia about two weeks ago, has slipped from serious to critical condition in a Dallas hospital.

Frieden said the CDC had feared the worst for Duncan, even before his test results came back that confirmed he had the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, many lawmakers and potential GOP presidential candidates, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, have called for actions like travel bans, quarantines and more to be used to restrict people from bringing Ebola into the United States.

Frieden said the CDC is looking at suggestions to see what will work without having unintended consequences that would increase risks to Americans.

On CNN, Frieden told host Candy Crowley that the CDC is conducting contact tracing on about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan, including 10 people who "definitely" were in contact.

"Every one of them will be monitored every day to see if they have fever," said Frieden. "If they do, they will be promptly isolated. That's how you stop it in its tracks. That's why we're confident we won't see a large number of cases from this."

The CDC is concerned that a few family members had very close contact with Duncan while he was sick, said Frieden, and those people will be very closely monitored for 21 days after their last contact with Duncan.

A woman living in the apartment where Duncan was staying has complained that she and her family had to live with the medical waste he left behind for four days, as nobody cleaned it out immediately after the Liberian was taken to the hospital.

The family has since been relocated to a private house in a gated community, and the apartment has been sanitized.

Frieden acknowledged there was a problem, as health officials have not had to deal with that situation before and "there had been a glitch in our system to approve a waste removal company to do that."

He said he is glad that calls are coming in about possible cases of Ebola, even if they aren't panning out.

"That's what we want to see," he said. "We don't want people to not be diagnosed. We want people to make sure that they come in."

Meanwhile, Frieden told NBC's Chuck Todd that there have been many recent treatment successes for the disease, but a new supply of drugs to fight the virus is still months away.

"The drug pipeline is going to be slow, I'm afraid,” Frieden said. "The most promising drug, ZMapp, there’s no more of it, and it’s hard to make, it takes months to make just a bit."

Agencies are also looking for other ways to fight the disease's spread, said Frieden, including several vaccines that are now in the trial stage.

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Dr. Tom Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Sunday he is quite confident that there will not be an Ebola epidemic in the United States, but until the disease is controlled in Africa there is no way to say there is no chance of more...
Ebola, CDC, treatment, containment
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2014-09-05
Sunday, 05 October 2014 11:09 AM
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