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Would A Travel Ban Save More People From Ebola?

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - A UPMC doctor believes through all the knowledge he's obtained and his work experience, the Ebola virus cannot become an airborne virus.

Dr. Amesh Adalja can say wholeheartedly and with confidence that this virus is not as contagious as everyone is acting it is. He also adds you cannot contract the virus easily.

Dr. Adalja is a  UPMC Infectious Disease Physician and Senior Associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security says that if this virus were to become airborne like depicted in the movie, "Hot Zone," it would come with a give and a take.

"Even if it could become airborne it would be a trade off probably between the way it transmits and how deadly it is," said Dr. Adalja. " So it's not a one for one thing that's all of a sudden going to be airborne and be a super virus, I don't think that's possible, and even if it was we wouldn't be getting the same disease."

Dr. Amesh Adalja Part 1

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If Pittsburgh was to received our first Ebola patient, he believes that UPMC is ready. He described a detailed manual given to their hospitals describing everything that they would need to do to treat and take care of the patient. The instructions begin with the patient's first arrival, and even into disposing of his waste.

He adds how important it is to include your travel history with every doctor's visit. He said that is just as important as telling the doctor what allergies you have. For people who are traveling in and out of the country or even state to state can contract a unique virus to that area and might bring it back with them.

Now with the possibility of closing the transportation and quarantining victims of Ebola, there rises the possibility of people lying when they are questioned about their travel before they are cleared to travel home. But the doctor assures the public that the question portion is just one part and there are extensive physical examines as well.


Dr. Amesh Adalja Part 2

Dr. Adalja stresses that Ebola is not going to spread like an epidemic and there won't be a general concern about it. He adds that a travel ban would be worse than better for containing the virus. This is because you have to attack the virus from it's source, so people and equipment need to be able to get in and out of that area. If you stop travel you could crumble their infrastructure.

"You have to remember that people are scared of Ebola, it is not very contagious, it's only spread through blood and body fluids, a travel ban will end up doing more harm than good," said Dr. Adalja. "And in the end it may paradoxically make the outbreak worse because we won't be able to get resources there and you will actually isolate that country and make it a dead zone."


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