Ebola Outbreak Unlikely in California: Expert

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The worst Ebola outbreak in history has doctors and nurses across the United States on high alert. In San Diego, physicians convened to develop a plan should the disease travel here, as NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian reports.

    The Ebola virus has killed more than 700 people in Africa, but one San Diego doctor says an outbreak in California is very unlikely.

    Dr. Nancy Crum-Cianflone, an infectious disease physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital, says the chances are so small because of how the disease is spread.

    “It's not transmitted through the air, It's not transmitted simply by touching someone. You really have to have contact with someone's bodily fluids," Crum-Cianflone said.

    This means you couldn’t catch this from someone sitting next to you on an airplane unless they are coughing and sneezing so much, you inhale or ingest their secretions.

    “Just us sitting here talking, there's really no risk. That's the big difference between this and things that are much more contagious, like the influenza viruses, which you can pick them up just by breathing the air," she said.

    As of Thursday, more than 1,200 were infected with the virus in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Dr. Crum-Cianflone says at this point, the biggest concern for health care workers is travel history.

    “If someone has recently come back the last week or two from West Africa or has been in contact with someone who's been sick from West Africa and has a flu-like symptoms, I think we should think about Ebola and then do the appropriate testing," she said.

    The Group to Eradicate Resistant Microorganisms – or GERM – Commission, a group of infectious disease doctors in San Diego County, met Wednesday night to discuss how to be proactive in the rare chance of an outbreak here.