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. Newt

    Meh... Stick to neurosurgery Sanjay. You're out of your element.

    August 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  2. H. B.

    Because of the spread in the region where it began, it's inevitable by now that the outbreak will spread. And that means it can go from there to any place on earth where people can travel to – especially by air.

    To think our own nations, with their sophisticated and abundant health care facilities, will be able to deal with such a spread is irrational. We may, and may NOT be able to control it. If it DOES get a foothold in the Western nations, it will be only a matter of time before we'd know whether or not it will overwhelm our existing facilities. We DO have many big advantages, but there can't be any guarantee.

    The sole reason Ebola has gone out of control is because it entered densely populated areas. We have plenty of those, ourselves. What is happening now in West African countries is the medical profession's worst nightmare.

    Many people are afraid these two patients being brought home could start a pandemic. That's extremely unlikely. It is the unknown victims of Ebola, who can get loose in our major cities before they go for medical help who will bring it to us.

    August 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    AGAIN it can NOT be spread by air. The only way it can be contacted is if you come in direct contact with an infected persons blood, vomit or feces!!!!

    August 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      OR just about any fluid including SWEAT.

      August 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  4. Chuck

    WHY would we purposely bring a BL-4 organism into the US by bringing the infected doctor over here. Why would we even remotely risk the spread within the hospital? It makes no logical sense.

    August 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  5. Ferhat Balkan

    Calm down people. This is not the movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman. The likelihood of this disease spreading is next to nil. Bringing the doctor home was the right thing to do. He will get the best possible care here and we owe that much to him. Let's not turn this into some sort of conspiracy theory.

    August 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • popseal

      Bringing the infected to America for any purpose is an act of monumental arrogance hooked to really big career plans at CDC and WHO.

      August 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
      • somewhere in US

        Completely agree.

        August 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
      • Dan

        The iReport video of them leading the patient into the hospital shows how ill prepared the "professionals" are to handle this or any future high level quarantines and transports. The people that handled bringing them into the country had or could have had our lives in their hands. I don't think they are qualified as much as they think they are.

        August 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • dnarich

        No, it is not a matter of monumental arrogance, it is however, a matter of having sufficient knowledge of how to contain an extremely hazardous virus to prevent spread. The patient would not have been brought to the US were there to be a threat of spread, and here in the US, you can be assured that anyone in contact with the patient will be very carefully monitored. We have a chance to save this doctor's life here, his chances overseas were far worse.

        August 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
      • Rob Sarge

        Based on your logic, we should also throw OUT OF THE COUNTRY all of OUR OWN patients who have other blood-borne diseases, Hep B, C, HIV, etc., etc. Is that what you're saying? Because those diseases are all transmitted in the same way as Ebola, and yet we don't have any problem controlling those diseases simply by virtue of the fact that we treat patients who have them here in the US..

        Ebola is very difficult to transmit, and very easy to control, if you have modern infection control procedures as exist in most modern, western hospitals. There is an infinitely greater risk of you getting and dying from other, prevalent nosocomial and community-acquired infections than Ebola. Full stop.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:43 am |
    • Freeman

      We owe him why?

      August 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Reply
      • Whome

        We owe him because if he gets treated he'll bring an even better benefit to all of us – because we would have at least understood how to make a [or yet another] human recover from this strain. And the even bigger reward for him and us would be that we are actually able to make a vaccine for this virus.
        As long this doesn't become an epidemic this is a win-win for us in society, hopefully it becomes a win-win for him too – wish him the best.

        August 4, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
    • Catman

      You are absolutely right. The conspiracy nuts and "end of the world types" want to make this into something it's not. American medicine is not African medicine. Ebola will be shut down here.

      August 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Reply
      • concern american

        your so naive

        August 4, 2014 at 12:34 am |
      • Denise

        There have been many American doctors over there working on this for many years and this is another two to get it! If they cannot keep from getting it over there what makes you think they are any better prepared over here? A few of the reasons it does not spread were mentioned. Those people don't travel as far most of the time, they cannot travel as easy and it kills many people before they have a chance to spread it. If it gets here in these congested areas it could be spread very quickly with the amount of people you could come in contact with on a bus, plane, taxi or subway! People go from state to state here in short periods of time they don't do that over there! And it takes up to 21 days to know you have it! How many people do you come in contact with in 21 days??? If you lived in a small village you might not infect many people!

        August 4, 2014 at 3:32 am |
      • how stupid

        There is no reason why these two people came back to the states! They can be treated in Africa – there is nothing more we can do here. Idiots! Wait till someone you know gets infected and all you bleeding hearts change your tune.

        August 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • glenn

      I agree 100% with Gupta. Bringing these people to the US was arrogant, political, and irresponsible.
      The high speed transportation we have now in 2014 makes 1918 look like a toddler in a pedal toy, and once this begins to spread around with the incubation period it has...and the fact that the swine/pig version has been proved to spread airborne between monkeys makes an airplane an inoculator: one infection goes in...275 come out..then change planes at the airport. This is insane.

      August 3, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Reply
      • Sue Perlative

        Gupta did not say that.

        August 4, 2014 at 12:59 am |
    • how stupid

      Listen up – two doctors were infected – DOCTORS! The stupidity of these docs coming back here.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • harbromm38

      Fascinating the Gupta forgets the below linked incident – and so do many of the posters. Doctors are notoriously arrogant – part of the resume and qualifications to have power over life and death I suppose.

      August 7, 2014 at 8:34 am | Reply
  6. popseal

    No problem. When do we get out moon suits? Or is this the beginning of "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"?

    August 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • concern american

      this is not a joke or to poke fun of.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • Aileen

      There are many arrogant and bullies commentators in here. No matter how repeatedly discussed the positive side of why the Ebola stricken doctor and administrator been brought back to the US. You are all pathetic by refusing the possibility of a good outcome- developing an effective vaccine or anti-viral for Ebola out from further studying or experimenting on both patients.

      August 7, 2014 at 5:21 am | Reply
  7. Glenn

    What happens if this disease starts to spread like HIV did? It does not take a rocket scientist or a CNN doctor to know this illness will in time spread, it is spread easier than the HIV virus, like through kissing. Hopefully it will die out, but pandemics happen. Two of my great grandfathers I found out died very young in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

    August 3, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • glenn

      Different glenn here...but I agree with you 100%
      Those who do not understand the lessons of the past are destined to repeat the mistakes.
      Get it comes...

      August 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Reply
      • Denise


        August 4, 2014 at 3:33 am |
      • Whome

        Well on the flip side if we cannot learn from this man's sickness then we are bound to repeat watching people (African or otherwise) continue to die from Ebola until it mutates into something more infectious and contagious. And then well humanity will be the worse for it not just those unfortunate to contract nowadays.

        August 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
    • Amanda

      There is always the threat of a pandemic... especially now with air travel. The risk exists every day whether it is splashed across CNN or not. Yes, there is the possibility of spreading... but if you read up on Ebola it is not as easily spread as everyone thinks. This epidemic started in a city of MILLIONS yet only a couple thousand have been infected. Ebola burns out quickly as it is so deadly! HIV on the hand does not kill quickly giving it more time to spread. Yes the idea of a pandemic is scary but this ENTIRE situation, at least the bringing of two patients home, is getting blown out of proportion! Fear mongering at its best and you are all falling for it. Unless you are in the isolation unit at Embry with this patient coughing all over you then you are FINE!

      August 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  8. Catman

    Fareed – why don't you learn how to interview and ask one question at a time instead of 2-3 in one. My freshman journalism students understand this principle.

    August 3, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  9. Texan

    "No, it is not a matter of monumental arrogance, it is however, a matter of having sufficient knowledge of how to contain an extremely hazardous virus to prevent spread. The patient would not have been brought to the US were there to be a threat of spread, and here in the US, you can be assured that anyone in contact with the patient will be very carefully monitored."

    I might believe that – except this patient carefully monitored himself. Do we know how the protection protocol failed in this and the second instance? How are caregivers here so much better here than there? Until these questions are answered, I see no good reason for introducing this virus into the western hemisphere. True, it might happen sooner or later, but why make it sooner? Best for one, or best for many? Many more questions than emotionally charged answers are being asked.

    August 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  10. Paula Matvienko-Sikar

    Why wasn't GPS shown in Brazil today, Aug. 3/ '14. I looked for the transcript. Also unavailable. Either two or three weeks ago the same thing happened. No GPS. But at least there was a transcript. Can anyone tell me what's going on with scheduled GPS that at least in Brazil, we viewers are being deprived of. Was in fact GPS presented anywhere on the globe? Or was it preempted by breaking news?

    August 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  11. whatsamatta_u

    I think the CDC recognizes there is a significant chance of multiple outbreaks, not from these patients, but from a primary or secondary vector (someone infected by someone infected in West Africa). I think they're bringing Kent Brantly & Nancy Writebol to get a jump on this Ebola strain, out of sight of a worried public, test protocols, and try treatment. Outbreaks may be happening soon, all over the country, and there's only 4 Hospitals w/these isolation wards.

    The Public Health have been talking about Ebola, have been concerned about Ebola, but haven't actually been able to prepare for Ebola. The clock is ticking.

    August 3, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Reply
    • how stupid

      No cure for this – NO CURE FOR THIS ! These doctors (who should know better) had no business coming back to the US. How come they are not sending "the common people" back here for treatment? There is no treatment.

      August 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  12. Paul

    So, there's two guys seen leaving an ambulance at the hospital, both are completely covered in protective gear...
    And...ta da! One of them is the patient? Explain this one to me, as, I sure as heck couldn't identify the person.

    August 3, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  13. concern american

    what gives them the right to take our lives in risk of this VIRUS without asking us first if WE ALL AGREE that this was ok?
    they should have asked the american people first. A quarantine "is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill."[1] The term is often erroneously used synonymously with isolation, which is "to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. NOT TO MOVE THEM TO ANOTHER COUNTRY.

    August 4, 2014 at 12:26 am | Reply
    • Amanda

      How are you at risk? Are you at the isolation ward at Embry treating these patients? No? Ok then no risk... that's not to say that an outbreak can't happen but the risk is so low you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than being infected with Ebola from these two individuals. Now, can it spread to the US from West Africa... absolutely! But so can any disease.. we wouldn't be able to prevent that from happening! (And it doesn't just have to be Ebola that we are talking about). And how on God's green earth would our government get anything done if they had to poll the American people on all decisions... they can't get anything done when its only 535 of them trying to make policies in DC... how are 300 million going to get anything done?!?

      August 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  14. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 4, 2014 at 12:44 am | Reply
  15. Sue Perlative

    It is right to give these medical personnel the best possible care in the US – because their skill & expertise are needede to fight ebola.

    August 4, 2014 at 1:00 am | Reply
    • concern american

      so why not send them to the source than to send the Virus to a new destination... the USA?

      August 4, 2014 at 1:45 am | Reply
    • concern american

      true... we could have given them the BEST MEDICAL CARE without moving them... the USA has MILLIONS to setup a medical facility ANY WHERE... it's the risk they are taking, when they could have build a hospital send in NOTHING but THE BEST staffed professional physicians, surgeons, and nurses.

      August 4, 2014 at 1:58 am | Reply
  16. Noted

    At least we know where these several Ebola patients are located in the USA. To me, that's better than not knowing. Either Ebola is faced now ... or dealt with at a future time which could be a little late in the game to control it in any acceptable way. Scary disease, but wishful thinking and ignorance is not a solution. Ebola is no longer someone else's disease and I concur with Dr. Gupta that it is real and is not isolated from global outbreaks.

    Dr. Gupta did not mention the suspected dietary aspects of the spread of Ebola. Food choices are also suspect: I don't have bats or rats on the menu ... also don't have bushmeat laying in the sun in the local market. Then again, I'm trying to learn more: For instance, what if the food chain is compromised by the bite of a bat or rat or whatever is hosting the Ebola virus.

    Ebola is too dangerously deadly to ignore and from what I've already read about it, this is one virus that needs immediate attention. If treating these current patients can shed any glimmer of light for a vaccine or hope, then some risk must be taken. I know, nobody wants the risk but simply wishing Ebola to go away won't make me feel any safer. Besides, until the exact origin of Ebola is found, no one in any nation is safe from this virus. Now ... that's one thought that will keep me awake and sleep deprived!

    August 4, 2014 at 1:57 am | Reply
  17. Labbekakker

    For what its worth;
    40 years ago i was in Africa as ornitholist consultant and student biochemist and we hit dead animals who prooved to have died from Ebola. In our group was a Chines doctorof traditional chinese medecine. Some days later some of our local worker got sick because they had contracted ebola by touching the carcasses. About 12 got high fever and were on the way to the cimetary when the chinese doctor who had left came back with a big bag of herbs and started to administer them to the sick ones some days later the fever went down and out of the 12 only one died because he saw the improvement and he swallowed in one day the herbs of 5 of his co-worker at once.
    When i asked the doctor he told me western medecine answer to virus infection is vaccination chinese answer is high doses of herbs with known antiviral properties.
    Maybe could be a good trial to see to it

    August 4, 2014 at 2:29 am | Reply
    • scholar

      I totally support your advice. They should consider contacting the Chinese man

      August 4, 2014 at 11:31 am | Reply
  18. osnat180

    It's nice.

    August 4, 2014 at 2:49 am | Reply
  19. worldly

    Thanks to myopic fools. Now ebola can fly.

    August 4, 2014 at 3:32 am | Reply
  20. Napoleon Coleman

    Please the west need to help Africa now to avoid being infected sooner or later. Let your science show fruit in this moment of need

    August 4, 2014 at 6:17 am | Reply
    • Mala mala

      Well spoken Napoleon, this can be everyone problem if no one will take charge to stop this killer virus, because the problem is not African alone now, it will affect the whole world. Stopping it now will be best thing to do.

      August 7, 2014 at 6:00 am | Reply

    Please if there is going 2 be a way of solving this problem of Ebola b/4 it get hold on people pls we need 2 do something fast. Thank from CEO'S of Globalstarconcepts. Thanks..

    August 4, 2014 at 7:11 am | Reply
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