CDC prepares for remote chance Ebola spreads to U.S.

by: Blake Hanson Updated:

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BOONE, N.C. -  The Centers for Disease Control confirmed Monday that it is actively working to prepare American health care providers for the Ebola virus.

The CDC said Ebola poses “little threat” to the United States. However, some workers on the front line said there's a growing list of reasons to be concerned that Ebola will spread outside of West Africa.

ARTICLE: U.S. doctors on alert after 2 Americans contract Ebola virus

"We are going to fight it and contain it in West Africa or we're going to fight it somewhere else," said Ken Isaacs, vice president of Programs and Government Relations for Boone-based Samaritan's Purse.

So far, two Americans have contracted the virus who both worked to battle the Ebola outbreak in Liberia for Samaritan's Purse.

Nancy Writebol, a missionary from Charlotte, was part of a team that decontaminated doctors and nurses who were working with Ebola patients.

Dr. Kent Brantly, a Fort Worth family physician, joined Samaritan's Purse's post-residency program in October and later began overseeing the care of Ebola patients after the outbreak.

The highly contagious virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world.

The World Health Organization said the outbreak is the largest ever recorded killing more than 670 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since it began earlier this year.

One victim died shortly after landing in Lagos, Nigeria. It's the only known Ebola patient known to have traveled with the virus.

Infectious disease experts said it's unlikely the virus would spread to the United States by plane.

"If on the off chance a traveler did return to the U.S. with the disease, the chance of spreading it locally, given the close contact needed for transmission, would be very low," said Dr. Christopher Polk.

Ebola can only be spread after symptoms show. Symptoms begin showing after a two- to 21-day incubation period.