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With First American Ebola Death, Fears Of The Virus Grow

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 7/31/2014

The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has claimed its first American victim. And now, there are world-wide fears that the virus could be difficult to contain. "I wanted him here with me, and the girls," says Decontee Sawyer, wife of American Ebola victim Patrick Sawyer. Patrick Sawyer was working in Liberia as a government official for the ministry of finance. He was planning to travel to Minnesota to celebrate his daughter's birthdays next month. "I had to tell her that her daddy is in Heaven now, and she said, "Well I thought he was in Liberia," says Decontee Sawyer. Sawyer's wife, Decontee, says her husband was visiting his sister, in Liberia, who was ill. She says he had no idea what was awaiting him. "They didn't know it was Ebola," Sawyer says. " So they thought she may have Malaria, so he was helping. Had he known, he would have definitely taken better precautions." The World Health Organization says the current outbreak in West Africa has claimed at least 672 lives. At least 1,200 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been infected. The virus is spread through contact with a sick person's bodily fluids. As for the threat of an outbreak in the U.S., officials remain cautiously optimistic. "In the United States, you have much better resources, you'd be able to isolate someone, provide whatever supportive therapy in terms of fluids, things like that to the person," says Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. "So they'd have a much better chance A) of surviving, and B) not turning into an outbreak." The CDC has issued an alert to U.S. health workers to be on the lookout for any patients who have recently traveled to West Africa. But, what makes it hard is that it takes two to 21 days for an infected person to show symptoms. And as officials at the CDC continue to monitor the Ebola threat to the U.S., they say they are leaving open the possibility that they will raise the threat level, which would discourage all "nonessential" travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

   
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