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. Chuck

    Simple. If you travel from these areas, then you must go through a 4 week quarantine. This needs to be implemented right now.

    August 3, 2014 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • Dirty Harry

      Lots of business travelers going to/fro there. Africa is more than just safaris, they have mineral wealth (and many Fortune 500-type extractive facilities with better tech than ours) and an untapped market. Price of "doing business" since socialist or green movements have been violently put down.

      August 3, 2014 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Carolyn

      I don't think that's going to happen at this point. We need to study the virus and come up with a vaccine if that's even possible. We should stop all people coming in the country who have been to the countries where it's active.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:02 am | Reply
      • snowboarder

        They have a vaccine. It's been successful on primates and is scheduled to be tested in humans beginning in September.

        August 3, 2014 at 10:06 am |
  2. Chuck

    We also need to limit all air traffic going into and out of these areas right away.

    August 3, 2014 at 9:51 am | Reply
  3. glaird

    The key phrase in this very brief article is "21 day" incubation period. The world is screwed.
    Just based on my interactions with perhaps 100 doctors over a lifetime, while observing their deductive and observational skills (not); 3/4ths of them would miss an active case of Ebola, if it was sitting in their examining room. The world is screwed.

    August 3, 2014 at 9:53 am | Reply
  4. Name*whodat

    A Doctor has brought ebola here.

    August 3, 2014 at 9:56 am | Reply
  5. Mark Causey

    Humans cull various animal herds all of the time, now it is time for the most invasive and destructive species on the planet's turn to be culled. What comes around goes around. It is called karma...

    August 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • theemptyone1

      No, it's called the balance of nature. Humankind has pushed the pendulum very far off balance. At some point, it must swing back and the further it has been pushed off balance the harder the swing to correct it will be.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:41 am | Reply
  6. Carlos Diaz

    Between a combination of Hollywood Movies and having lived here in the U.S. for over 50 years, It is my personal conviction that ( any government ) will HIDE / SOFTEN the impact of any given news. Rightfully so, they do not want to create a stampede with the total truth. They just feed you as the need arises.It is my personal belief that the ENEMIES OF THE STATE worldwide are considering EBOLA as a WEAPON. Thus, the U.S, is more concerned with a treatment / vaccine for their soldiers. Along these lines, one's imagination takes over in regards as to why the patients were flown in under "Humanitarian Purposes". This is the world we live in full of conspiracies. At this point, I assume that the citizens best interests are of minimal concerns. Yes, productivity cannot be interrupted at any cost. Panic cannot and will not be tolerated. This may mean that men n white space suits may be knocking on our doors in the not too distant futures. Each one of us knows that deeply. If you get sick, you simply will be dealt with accordingly – whatever that may mean. We are aware of the possible scenarios this may entail... Scary stuff.....

    August 3, 2014 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • Name*Bucktooth


      August 3, 2014 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • microbio

      I toured a facility not too long ago in Oregon that has a government contract to create medicines for different viruses and bacteria that would likely be used in a bio-terrorist attack. These medicines were to be used for important government and political figures, the armed forces and the health officials that were aiding the infected. Ebola was one of the viruses that they had already created a medicine for.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:39 am | Reply
  7. satan

    We are all screwed.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply
  8. Sam

    Wait for it.. Wait for it. USA has found Ebola vaccine and stress on people to take it. ( just like they did with the influenza vaccine)

    August 3, 2014 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Paul

      ...not to mention all the vaccines soldiers were required to take before deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan .
      Those vaccines caused immeasurable damage to the soldiers.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:37 am | Reply
  9. jeff

    This is scary. You mean terrorist (Suicide infection) can go where there is an advertised Ebola out break and have 21 days to infect who ever is on their list.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • Jon

      Only very theoretically, Jeff.

      Ebola is not easily transmitted. It's basically only spread through bodily fluids. If your hypothetical terrorist got on the same bus as you and you sat a couple seats away for a few hours, your risk of infection is very minimal. In order to have a high likelihood of infecting people during those 21 days, he'd need to be creating levels of contact with other people outside normal levels.

      For example, if he cut open his hand and tried to smear the blood on other people's faces. I don't think he could do that for 21 days though. Someone would notice. In fact, if you see someone doing that, you should probably inform the police.

      Short of action like that, though, this hypothetical terrorist would probably do more damage by buying a knife and trying to attack people in elevators (or something), than he would be infecting himself and walking around until he became symptomatic.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:25 am | Reply
      • Drew

        This isn't entirely accurate as it's becoming more apparent that there is some degree of airborne transmission. I'm not making this up. If you go to BBC, or Google it in general, to find information that Canadian scientists have found that Ebola has been successfully transmitted between pigs to primates (and even birds) without direct contact. That can only mean through air transmission. Here is the story bbc com/news/science-environment-20341423 Replace the period after BBC. Anyhow it seems that pigs play a big part in this process somehow. Once you read that article you'll be a bit more on edge over this outbreak.

        August 3, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • Brite

        @Jon : Reading your words makes me think.
        These people who are infected are not under high security, anyone can pose as a cleaner or something.
        Just gather some of the patients urine and vulla.
        Once a (suicide terrorist) has the infection just spray thier own urine in the air mixed with some scent as air freshener or something. Better yet get a mop and bucket, start washing floors and walls in public buildings, with the infected urine. I would think mist of the germ, will get in some peoples eyes, mouth, or into some opening in the skin, somewhere. Where there is a will there is a way. "Just say'n "

        August 3, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • Jon

        @Drew: I realize that. There is evidence that this is possible. By some measures, it's even confirmed that it's possible. But that doesn't make it likely or easy. Look at it this way: With a 21 day incubation period, there have been 10 full incubation cycles this year. There have only been 1440 infections. If you plot the geometric growth, this means that (on average) each infected person is infection 2.07 other people during those 21 days.

        Of course, this is a simplified model. Some people who are known to have interacted with the infected will be quarantined earlier (raising the number), but lots of people are infected by things which wouldn't happen in this terrorist scenario - like handling dead bodies improperly or stealing sick family members from hospitals (which lower the number of incidental infections during the incubation term). Let's assume the worst case scenario, however, and double my projected number. Each sick person gets 4 other people sick incidentally during the incubation period.

        I don't care what methods of spread are actually possible, the numbers are what they are. Ebola does not spread easily, and if a terrorist infects himself and then trusts that he'll infect others just by walking around, he's going to be disappointed by the effect.

        @Brite: I don't know any specifics, but I'm under the impression that this type of setting does have significant security, as the protocols are the same as those in which they study things like anthrax which are easily weaponised. As for mopping a floor with contaminated water, or using an aerosol, none of the research which suggests such transmission methods would be theoretically viable leads me to conclude that either method would have particularly high efficacy. However, I admit my general ignorance on this and could be completely wrong.

        August 3, 2014 at 11:45 am |
  10. Girish

    I think there is a big assumption by Dr. Gupta. No one in their right mind will allow Ebola to be global. It will be incompetence that will allow Ebola to get out of Western Africa and reach distant shores. No one in their right mind will let infected persons travel freely.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • snowboarder

      Tough to do when you don't know who may be infected.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • poundtownave

      "Would allow"? Sorry but sometimes we may not have a choice. Odds are very good that someone infected has already left and may be in North Africa, Europe, or Asia.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:54 am | Reply
      • Drew

        Well there are two now in the USA getting treatment as has been well published.

        In fact, my old doctor (I had to get a new one because he was over in Africa on a sabbatical giving aid to the poor) is over there right now gives me great cause for concern. Seriously, there are hundreds if not thousands of foreign individuals in Africa trying to do the right thing and help but each one is a direct vector for infection to the rest of us if they return to North America with the infection. I agree with Dr. Gupta, this is DEFINITELY going global. It only takes one to get on an airplane or boat and bring it back here infecting others they come in contact with and wham...potential epidemic. I have also found research that Canadian scientists have found that Ebola can be passed from pigs to monkeys (and even birds) through air transmission and NO direct physical contact. If you Google these three words "canadian ebola transmission" you will see many articles on this subject. That's the scary part.

        August 3, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Paul

      The zionists would do everything possible to let the Ebola become global.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:40 am | Reply
  11. lame

    oh please

    this is a non story

    August 3, 2014 at 10:08 am | Reply
  12. EBOLA2014


    reminder that Ebola is airborne.


    "CDC sees Ebola as human-to-human airborne transmissible’, says researcher"

    intellihub (dot) com/cdc-sees-ebola-human-human-airborne-transmissible-says-researcher/

    "In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been
    demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly

    phac-aspc.gc (dot) ca/lab-bio/res/psds-ftss/ebola-eng.php


    August 3, 2014 at 10:13 am | Reply
  13. asdhjsdsad

    Gupta is the worst scare monger quack in the world. The world would be much better off without him. He needs his medical license revoked NOW!!!

    August 3, 2014 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • sank

      he is a neurosurgeon and faculty at emory university. what are you?

      August 3, 2014 at 10:47 am | Reply
  14. Carlos Diaz

    Reading most of the responses in this section, I personally believe places the entire situation in its proper perspective. #1 – Our individual opinions are a moot point. Only a few people actually RUN the Government. The "Pentagon" makes all final decisions in case of National Interests. The President and Politicians reflect those positions and will only sugar coat realities ( tell the people what they want to hear BS )..... #2 Nothing will DISRUPT productivity or CAUSE social unrest....#3 Ebola will be a WEAPON for those that DO NOT have military superiority over their enemies ( can you think of who? ).... Even IF you DO NOT embrace this rationale, it's hard to put a positive spin on the alternatives. Ebola transcends social status, so your money may not be as useful as it would be under other mishaps. We are all in this together. Viruses do not discriminate.
    Of course, my personal reflections are caused by having watched way too many Hollywood Movies and hanging around this planet for waaaay tooo loong. Maybe as an an elder person with access to too many CNN channels I have become a Television parasite ? To be positive or negative regarding world events? That is the question my friends.....

    August 3, 2014 at 10:22 am | Reply
  15. umm

    Nuke the coal. Click click die

    August 3, 2014 at 10:23 am | Reply
  16. Olka

    So let us just close the border with western Africa and ban all travel to this region.
    Unfortunately, medical industry is mostly about money today. This is why we have useless flue shots available, but not a cure fo realy deadly ebola.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Reply
  17. cef911f1

    I can understand bringing these two patients here. After all they are American citizens and have that right. What I don't understand is why we either don't have or chose not to use a remote site capable of dealing with this type situation.
    Treating them in a densely populated area seems like an unnecessary risk.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • Brite

      These two cases will not spread they are well controlled, but where we should worry is the rest of the people that are not under control.

      August 3, 2014 at 11:41 am | Reply
  18. CM

    We need to be worried more about the latest news with the "flesh-eating bacteria". It does not just inhabit stagnant fresh water – it is also in ocean water. The potential for this bacteria is scary.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:27 am | Reply
  19. Farrok

    Why would the American Government transport Ebola to American shores? If this virus is unleashed the American economy will collapse. People will stop leaving their homes, stop shopping, stop spending. I don't know who came up with the idea to transport Ebola patients to American soil but they need their heads examined.

    These "Scientists" have endangered us all with their stupidity.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Brite

      I'd bet, they brought them here so they can take as many samples as needed to find a vaccine or anti-dote, plus research the cause of this condition.

      August 3, 2014 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Paul

      The economy won't collapse;there's always a dollar to be made with big pharma. The poorest people will become infected first and foremost. This is basically population thinning by big government.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:47 am | Reply
  20. n2it

    I'll be traveling to the region soon. Cote d'Ivoire. No known cases there to date but I'll be just next door to Liberia...

    August 3, 2014 at 10:28 am | Reply
  21. r0il

    CNN is messing with your head for ratings. Ebola is only spread so easily in African countries because people very easily come in contact with the fluids of an infected person. Just wash your hands and don't swap spit with someone who's been to africa or hanging out in hospitals recently. Remember Swine Flu, and Bird Flu, and SARs? Sounds familiar..

    August 3, 2014 at 10:28 am | Reply
  22. why

    The U.S. has just screwed themselves. I can't believe they did such an irresponsible thing bringing those sick people here. STUPID MOVE

    August 3, 2014 at 10:29 am | Reply
  23. Brenda Scowl

    Thanks for the advice slurpee indian. Now how about some real leadership from some real AMERICAN Leaders.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:32 am | Reply
  24. Carlos Diaz

    Throughout the history of the world, time has revealed certain real truths that were hidden from public view before. There is a 20 or 30 year cycle for this to happen. The people that were in power before either die or are out of power and can no longer bury the truth. Just look at the last 50 years of U.S. history and see what I mean. As an elder person I can say with certain degree of accuracy that no government can be trusted – at all. Their job is to find out the truth, somehow cover their asses and then feed the sheep any bogus information they can conjure up. On any given day ANY PRESIDENT can sit in front of a microphone and lie through their teeth. Years later. "The Real Truth" of the matter is revealed. I can think of several nuclear accidents – were bombs fell off war planes on U.S. soil and – because they didn't go off, the public did not find out until years later. This is just one of thousands of examples. I now know why the Bible makes references to us as "Sheep" or " Flock"....Yes, Politicians have mastered the act of BS. We have mastered the act of "BAAAAAHHHH"........

    August 3, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply
  25. walking dead

    The walking dead

    August 3, 2014 at 10:36 am | Reply
  26. Cin

    This situation was an easy fix, BUT, the doctors didn't think it would spread out of the small village, BUT, then it did, AND they were WRONG. They could have quarantined this very easily in the beginning, but they didn't. The next easiest solution..... no travel in or out of Africa until the virus is under control, but they didn't do that either. Instead, our government risked the lives of everyone in America to bring two Ebola victims back to the U.S. It's probably too late now, I'm sure the virus will be hitting big cities across the world soon. Next time maybe our government and doctors won't be so arrogant in thinking they know better than the rest of the people in the world, because the comments I've read on-line in lots of newspaper articles all say the same thing, STOP ALL TRAVEL IN AND OUT OF AFRICA.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:39 am | Reply

    cue jeff goldblum jurassic park speech. watch now how chaos theory plays out. life will find a way. all it takes is one mistake. if it can go will go wrong. truth. sometimes its are humanity that will be are undoing. but it the end i suppose id rather die doing something i thought was right.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:39 am | Reply
  28. HarryReider

    The Fed is dumping illegals in Many states, Meanwhile the
    National Border Patrol Council VP has said "'I'd Almost Guarantee People Have Been Released That Are Sick'..."
    He adds that "chicken pox, measles, H1N1 and tuberculosis are also pretty common."
    And you guys worry about ebola.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:40 am | Reply
  29. tomasseffect

    What do you call CNN=TMZ when it's been global for years then? The black death?! lol

    August 3, 2014 at 10:41 am | Reply
    • Brite

      The two they brought to the U.S. are not black lol.
      There is a saying cleanliness is next to Godliness.
      The cause of most of this is dirtiness.

      August 3, 2014 at 11:58 am | Reply
  30. kim

    If a terrorist wanted to use it, couldn't they just become infected and then blow themselves up somewhere crowded? I don't think many people are clammoring to get ebola so they can spread it.

    August 3, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
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