Ebola: Isolated case vs. outbreak

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– On Thursday a doctor who had worked treating Ebola patients in Guinea was diagnosed with the disease.  Now, some say the Ebola virus is now hitting to close to home.

“If something happen to like my mom or my brothers that would get me,” Jerry Dufond, of Springfield, said.

Others, working in the healthcare field, say they’re just trying to stay calm.

Patricia Wright, from West Springfield, told 22News, “Some people are nervous and they’re like oh I’m going to quit, I’m going to leave, you know, but other people are like well, you know it’s inevitable.”

Health experts in Western Massachusetts continue to insist that the chances of an outbreak here in the United States are still very low.

Dr. Helfand of the Family Care Medical center in Springfield told 22News Thursday’s Ebola diagnosis in New York City is an isolated case, meaning there is only one sick person.

In Ebola’s recent history, specifically in Nigeria and Senegal, there have been what health officials call “small outbreaks”, meaning about 15 to 20 people got sick.

Right now, in West Africa, there is an Ebola epidemic, meaning thousands of people are catching the disease; a concern of New Yorkers following the news that the Ebola patient there rode the subway before he became ill.

“We do worry a little bit more with an infectious disease in a densely populated area, but again that’s particularly the case if it’s spread by the respiratory route; by people being the room with somebody who’s infected,” Dr. Helfand told 22News.

Dr. Helfand says Ebola is unique to other viruses like the flu and chicken pox because the virus is not airborne, and the infected person is not contagious until they are having symptoms.

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