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FAQ: The Deadly Ebola Virus

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Concerns were raised after an Ebola-infected man from Liberia flew to the Nigerian capital of Lagos, only to die on July 25, soon after arriving. He was identified in media reports as Patrick Sawyer, 40, a naturalized U.S. citizen making his way home to Minnesota.

But most flights between West Africa and the U.S. require one or more stops in other countries, making it unlikely a sick person could travel the entire distance, Marty Cetron, director for Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC, said on July 28.

The CDC says Ebola poses little risk to the general U.S. population.

“We are confident that we will not have significant spread of Ebola, even if we were to have a patient with Ebola here,” Frieden told reporters July 31. “We work actively to educate American health care workers on how to isolate patients and how to protect themselves against infection. In fact, any advanced hospital in the U.S., any hospital with an intensive care unit, has the capacity to isolate patients. There is nothing particularly special about the isolation of an Ebola patient other than it’s really important to do it right.”

“Because it’s not airborne, it would take very close contact with someone who is at an advanced stage of illness to become infected,” Thomas Geisbert tells HealthDay.

One of the five Ebola virus strains caused an outbreak in laboratory monkeys in Reston, VA, outside Washington, DC, in 1989. People who were exposed to that strain of Ebola virus did not get sick. But they developed antibodies to it.

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