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Public health expert on Ebola: Need for caution, not panic

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

In statements from MUSC, Trident Health and Roper St. Francis, hospital officials have assured the public that they are prepared to handle Ebola cases. Officials say all protocols meet the Centers for Disease Control's recommendations.

Public health expert Dr. Matt Page says the CDC's protocol, if followed, is effective.

"They do prevent the transmission of Ebola. What I will say about those protocols is that they're onerous. They're hard to follow. If you are working with a person eight, 12 hours a day, it's a lot of attention to detail."

Page, who is also an assistant professor at the College of Charleston, says South Carolinians should have every confidence that state hospitals are prepared to handle cases. He stressed that the disease is not airborne.

"Ebola is transmitted by overwhelming the person's immune system and then they leak bodily fluids. They hemorrhage blood and other bodily fluids, and by touching those fluids people get the disease."

Page says the likelihood of the disease spreading in the United States is very low. He says the threat lies in West Africa where containing it has become a challenge.

"In Africa, the concern is that it would jump to another urban area, a major urban area in Africa, and then spread and be harder to contain. So, I think the goal would be to keep it in those three countries by pouring resources in there as quickly as possible."

He says people here, who have traveled to West Africa, have a personal responsibility to self-monitor.and health professionals must follow every protocol.

The Centers for Disease Control is also establishing an Ebola response team that can be in place within hours of a new case.

For a complete list of what you need to know about Ebola, click here

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