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Ebola Virus: How Contagious Is It?

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The Ebola outbreak in Africa has everyone terrified that it will spread to other parts of the world and kill millions of people.

The virus has already killed over 600 people in Africa and infected over 1,000 others.

Healthcare workers who have been working to treat the infected and prevent the virus from spreading are now becoming ill as well and it was recently discovered that a man who was infected with Ebola has planned to return home to the United States for treatment.

Many doctors have warned that if the Ebola virus were to be carried on a plane, other passengers could become infected and the virus could spread in other countries and parts of the world.

This has caused a panic and with the virus infecting more and more people in Africa, the chances of it being spread to another country get higher.

The scientist who first discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 says that the virus is not likely to spread throughout other countries the way it has in Africa and even said that he wouldn’t be afraid to sit next to an infected person on a plane.

“I don’t think that will give rise to a major epidemic,” Professor Peter Piot said. “Spreading in the population here, I’m not that worried about it.”

He went on to say that in spite of the efforts of the healthcare workers, the people in Africa are causing the disease to spread by way of their old habits.

“Like in any culture, someone who dies is washed, the body is laid out but you do this with bare hands, without gloves. Someone who died from Ebola, that person is covered with virus because of vomitus, diarrhea, blood,” he said. “That’s how then you get new outbreaks and the same thing is happening now in west Africa.”

Piot said that he hopes a vaccination can be created before another outbreak of Ebola strikes in Africa or another part of the world.

“It is quite clear that new viruses will emerge all the time and Ebola will come again — hopefully not to this extent,” he said.

Does the fact that the Ebola virus is in the United States scare you?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Ebola Virus: How Contagious Is It?
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