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Tuesday, 19 August 2014 15:37

Fear Outweighs Risk of Ebola, Experts Say

(MCT) — Dr. Diane Weems knew the virus was on their minds, so the acting director of the East Central Health District just launched into it at last week’s meeting of the Richmond County Board of Health.

“OK, does anyone have questions about Ebola?” she asked board members.

The lethal outbreak in Africa has prompted a lot of unneeded fear even among health care workers who might not understand that it takes more than casual contact to cause an infection, she said.

Augusta and Georgia have faced far bigger public health threats in the past and will likely face worse in the future, experts said.

The problem with the outbreak in West Africa, where nearly 2,000 people have been infected and more than 1,000 people have died, is that unlike past outbreaks in self-contained rural villages, this one is occurring in more populated areas, Weems said. These countries also lack a good public health infrastructure and health workers might not be taking common infection control procedures, such as wearing gloves, she said.