Northeast Ohio doctor calls U.S. Ebola diagnosis ‘inevitable’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

For the first time, a patient in a Dallas hospital died after being  diagnosed with Ebola.

Thomas Eric Duncan died Wednesday at a Dallas hospital. He didn’t show symptoms until after four or five days of arriving in the United States from Liberia.

Fox 8 News spoke with Dr. Frank Esper of University Hospitals to learn more about what it means for America, the world and Northeast Ohio.

Not too surprising

“My reaction is this is something that was inevitable going forward because of the extent of the outbreak in West Africa, as well as the duration of how long this has been going on for,” Esper said Wednesday, noting the world is extremely interconnected.

He added we’ll likely see sporadic cases of Ebola in the U.S. as well as around the world.

Travel restrictions

Esper mentioned there are restrictions for individuals traveling and guidelines followed by the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Association.

Airlines also have the right to deny travel.

Hard to transmit

“Ebola virus is a virus, and most of these viruses all start out the same way. They start with fevers, muscle pain, headaches, vomiting,” Esper said, adding a person is not infectious until they start showing symptoms,” Esper said.

He added Ebola is actually very hard to transmit from person to person which requires prolonged, intimate contact with an infected person, not casual contact like shaking hands and passing money.

“This is nothing if you compare it to the infectiousness of influenza or the coronaviruses or even the viruses that cause diarrhea and on cruise ships and around day care centers. Those are very infections, those spread like wild fire. Whereas Ebola, it takes prolonged, intimate contact with an individual, and that individual when they’re most infectious is when they’re really, really sick and they’re bed bound. So the most infectious they’re actually usually very sedentary, they’re not out in the community,” Esper said.

Not too worried

“Why I worry about most from this, Ebola is a very serious infection, it deserves our respect and it deserves our attention, but I’m not too worried about Ebola spreading throughout the United States like it is over in western Africa. There the Ebola is spreading throughout that region, person to person, because they’re having a very difficult ability, as well as a lack of medical infrastructure, a lack of supplies and a lack of education to a population to prevent that spread. That’s not the case here in the United States,” Esper said. “We have sophisticated medical infrastructure, we have a lot of resources available to help us control this infection when it does happen to pop up, as it did in this case from a traveler.”

We are on guard

To prevent any kind of virus, remember to wash your hands to reduce a substantial amount of germs.

“If there’s anything to get from this case that we have here in Texas, we are on guard looking for this, the control measures are in place and are working.”

Click here for more on the Ebola virus.