August 3rd, 2014
12:39 AM ET

Gupta: We're going to see Ebola around the world

Fareed speaks with Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, about the recent outbreak of Ebola. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Sanjay, how has this been blocked in the past? Why does this seem unprecedented? Is there something different right now?

You know, in a morbid way, it's because it killed so quickly – it would just burn out. You imagine these remote villages. People weren't moving around as quickly. And the Ebola virus – they would die and before they could start to spread it…it's awful to think about, but that's what was happening.

Now, you have a more mobile group. You have more roads between some of these smaller villages, such as in Guinea, where this originated, and the capital city of Conakry. There are roads. There are all these good passageways now back and forth. And so I think that part of it is certainly contributing. There’s also this idea that there’s a mistrust – I think a little bit of distrust, maybe – even of health care professionals. In part, that's fueled by the fact that there’s no good anti-viral, there’s no good vaccine. So we need to see health care workers show up, they're not offering some panacea to what is happening here.

And so there's not a lot of trust. And a lot of the people who are getting infected aren't hearing the right messages.  And you also have several epidemics sort of starting in different points almost simultaneously now. Usually, it was one place you could target.

Sanjay, how are we going to control the spread? How does one track whether people have Ebola? You think about, as you say, there are roads. There are also trains. There are also planes now. People can get on flights from Liberia, from Sierra Leone. How do we handle this?

Well, I think we're going to hear at some point – I don't know if it's during this outbreak or a future one – we are going to hear about patients with Ebola showing up in other countries in the Western Hemisphere. I can't imagine that not happening, having seen how it all works. And keep in mind, between the time of exposure to the virus and the time someone gets sick, it could be as long as 21 days. It can travel all over the world, obviously, during that time.

I think if there's any good news in this, it's when you think about countries like the United States, Britain, who are having high level discussions on this topic, they are in a much better position to be able to control this. First of all, they could isolate the patient quite quickly, provide fluids and blood clotting factors to try and provide what is called supportive therapy and prevent these patients with the virus becoming epidemics or the source of epidemics.

So I think it's going to happen. We're going to see Ebola around the world. But I think it's not going to turn into lots of mini outbreaks.​


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Topics: GPS Show • Health

soundoff (506 Responses)
  1. resident

    As long as people are forced to travel for work diseases will spread around the world. Some roadhore will bring it and spread it before you know it.

    August 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  2. Tom Upah

    CDC Changes Risk Criteria for Ebola Transmission to “Being in the Same Room” or Within 3 Feet of Infected Individual


    August 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  3. Steve Szirotnyak

    Once again, it's up to the United States and it's woefully inferior medical system to save the world from a potential (or established) epidemic that starts in Africa. Wow, is our system horrible.

    August 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  4. Name*amy walker

    They compare Ebola to a wildfire burning out of control. A wildfire starts new growth and is healthy for the forest. The same applies here, Mother Nature created Ebola to allow those that survive a better chance. These countries are riddled with starvation and civil war. Allow the environment to do what it needs to do. Just like so much in modern medicine just because we can fix it doesn't mean we should. Go Mother Nature.

    September 23, 2014 at 12:42 am | Reply
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