Ebola virus unlikely to spread to Chippewa Valley

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Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- The Ebola outbreak is getting worse - and now the U.S is warning travelers to stay away from affected regions. But, in our area local health officials says the risk of contracting the deadly virus is extremely slim.

Presidents from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea gathered to plan a response to the Ebola virus that has killed more than 700 people in the region.

"Ebola is a viral disease, it's virus that we know is transmitted from person to person, that's what's happening in West Africa right now and it's a dangerous virus," says Lieske Giese the Director of the Eau Claire city-county health department.

It's a disease that's being talked about around the world. President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has declared a state of public emergency.

President Obama addressed the issue in a speech today, saying he takes the outbreak very seriously.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC says, "This the toughest Ebola outbreak we've ever had to face.”

Dr. Frieden also released a statement saying, "We do not anticipate this will spread in the U.S. if an infected person is hospitalized here. But, we are taking action now by alerting healthcare workers in the U.S. and reminding them how to isolate and test suspected patients while following strict infection control procedures."

With talk of American aid workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus being flown to the United States to be treated, questions may be raised about the disease spreading here.

Giese says it's easy to be worried given current information but says there's no need to be concerned.

“We have not seen any Ebola of any kind in the United States and the Center for Disease control has been very clear that we don't need to be worried. The infectious disease experts in this country are really amazing. They know, even if it's an unusual disease like Ebola, how to protect people and how to make sure healthcare workers around that individual and others are protected,” says Giese.

There have currently been more than 1,300 people infected, and more than 700 deaths.

Infectious disease experts insist Ebola can be contained through isolation.

Giese says this disease is dangerous and it's good to be knowledgeable of the risks, but says to also be aware the likelihood of the disease spreading in the U.S. is extremely remote.

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