Local experts discuss the myths and truths of Ebola

NEW ORLEANS -- With the news of a second nurse in Dallas contracting the Ebola virus after taking care of a sick patient and flying with low grade fever, people are in fear of being exposed.

Thursday morning WWL-TV News hosted a live web chat with local experts called "Facts Not Fear, " to get answers based on science, not politics or emotion.

It was a chance for you to have access to top Ebola experts, Tulane's Dr. Susan McLellan, who has treated Ebola patients in West Africa, and LSU Health Sciences Center's emergency medicine expert Dr. Jim Aiken, Director of Emergency Preparedness at University Hospital (LSU Interim Hospital.

The question of transmission came up in the discussion.

"What we do have is very good epidemiologic data that does not suggest transmission, including household transmission to close contacts, until somebody is clearly symptomatic," Dr. McLellan explained.

We also talked about the increased sales of personal protective equipment by non-medical workers and how some manufacturers are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand.

"What I hope is happening is people are buying more soap. They are taking just the natural precautions that you would for any other infectious disease. Washing your hands and not necessarily hugging everybody all day is probably the most important thing you can do," said Dr. Aiken.

They say people should get flu shots and the all the vaccines for their children. And people on the front lines of treating others, need to be proactive.

"I think any health care worker should come to work every day asking the questions, 'Where are the plans? What's being done?'
And most importantly, 'What do I need to know, and how can I get the training? Because there's no substitute for doing it actual," said Dr. Aiken.

They also said pets and animals are not transmitting the virus and flying is safe for the general public,

"There is no community transmission of Ebola in this country yet. We hope that there will not be. There's not even transmission among family members of the index patient in Dallas," Dr. McLellan emphasized.


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