Ebola virus has attention of doctors across U.S., world - WKRN News 2

Ebola virus has attention of doctors across U.S., world

Posted: Updated: Jul 29, 2014 11:26 PM

An Ebola outbreak in Africa is causing concern around the world including those at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“The current fatality rate is hovering between 60 and 70 percent. This is very serious,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He says Ebola epidemics usually appear in small African villages.

“But the current one has gotten into cities. People are much more mobile; they move around, so it has spread much more extensively,” he said.

It has not spread to the United States, or the Western Hemisphere for that matter, but it's still a cause for concern, especially for those traveling to Africa and especially for doctors and nurses.

Dr. Schaffner said the virus spreads through close contact with body fluids.

“Like their blood, theirvomits, their urine and the like,” said Dr. Schaffner.

He described the virus as “ferocious” and “sneaky.” At first symptoms include fever, headache, and lack of appetite.

Dr. Schaffner said then people have organ failure, followed by bleeding and, in the span of a few days, slip into a coma.

“Fortunately, we are all on alert,” he said. “Should someone come to Nashville I think we would diagnose them very quickly and we would take very good care of them.”

Two American health workers in Liberia are currently hospitalized, and a doctor in Sierra Leone, who was praised for treating the disease, died in quarantine Tuesday.

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