U.S. health officials have issued travel warnings to three West African countries that have been devastated by an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The advisory applies to the nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where 729 people have died from the virus – including 57 in a three-day period from July 24-27 – and more than 1,300 have been infected.
The announcement was made by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who said Ebola was “a tragic, dreadful and merciless virus. The bottom line is, Ebola is worsening in West Africa.”
The CDC said to consider this its highest-level warning. The last time it issued such an advisory was at the height of the SARS epidemic in Asia in 2003.
The CDC has two dozen workers in West Africa and Frieden said he will be sending 50 more to deal with the deadly plague.
As the U.S. prepares to fly home two American doctors who contracted Ebola, there is also some public concern that the virus could spread or be brought to this country via air travel. But health officials insist that the risk of contracting Ebola – in a plane or not – is fairly low.
"It's very unlikely that they would be able to spread the disease to fellow passengers," Stephen Monroe, deputy director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, told CNN. "The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of ill people, and indirect contact -- for example with needles and other things that may be contaminated with these fluids."
No. You’d have a greater chance of walking off the plane having caught a cold from a fellow passenger than the Ebola virus.