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Risk of Ebola Cases in St. Louis is ‘Very Low,’ Expert Says

Fred Bodimer
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A member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) puts on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on July 23, 2014 in Conakry. A Liberian man has been hospitalised in Lagos with Ebola-like symptoms, but it is not yet clear if he is infected with the killer virus, Nigerian officials said on July 24. Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river in that country. (CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) puts on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on July 23, 2014 in Conakry. A Liberian man has been hospitalised in Lagos with Ebola-like symptoms, but it is not yet clear if he is infected with the killer virus, Nigerian officials said on July 24. Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river in that country. (CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)

fred-bodimer Fred Bodimer
Fred Bodimer joined KMOX in 1982 after graduating from the University...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Ebola outbreak in Africa is worsening, causing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a special warning.

The worst cases of the disease are now being seen in Liberia, Guinea and Sierre Leone, and the deadly outbreak has killed about 700 people.

But how likely is this deadly disease to show up in the U.S. or in St. Louis?

Not very, according to St. Louis University Care infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nirav Patel at Saint Louis University Hospital. He says medical conditions in the developed world are much different than they are in places like Africa.

“Most patients that would start developing symptoms that are appropriate can be placed in a hospital setting with individualized patient rooms. We have enough resources that patient care equipment is not always shared and those contacts, those close contacts, between somebody that’s sick and infected and somebody that is not sick, typically just does not happen here,” Patel says.

Could someone traveling to those countries bring it back home here with them?

“The incubation period can be up to two weeks long. … And people can have no symptoms during that time period,” he says. “So, it is plausible that somebody could have been exposed and then travel to the United States.”

But Patel says don’t be too concerned about that happening.

“The risk to the general public here is very low because once they start manifesting symptoms, those symptoms are fairly profound and fairly clear. We know when those symptoms start,” he says, and that’s when an infected individual would be moved to a hospital setting.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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