Ebola epidemic in West Africa poses threat to USA - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Ebola epidemic in West Africa poses threat to USA

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(European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr) (European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses a threat to America.

As the deadly epidemic spiraled out of control several weeks ago, a young specialist in infectious disease control working at the Illinois Department of Public Health volunteered to fly to the front line of the fight.

“We got an e-mail from her. It's pretty grim. It's pretty grim, you know. She's stepping over bodies. They're trying to get their arms around the case load,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, IDPH Director.

Dr. Hasbrouck only told FOX 32 News the local woman doctor’s first name, which is Alison. He did not have permission to reveal more. He said she's in the epicenter of the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak. It's already killed 670 and infected 1,200 more, most of whom are also expected to die.

“It's very overwhelming is what we're hearing in an e-mail from her. It's a pretty dire situation,” Dr. Hasbrouck added.

In fact, Doctors Without Borders -- the renowned medical charity – on Wednesday declared the Ebola epidemic in West Africa completely out of control. They complained there is no "overarching" plan to contain it.

After two American Peace Corps volunteers were placed in isolation, because they had contact with a victim who died of the disease, the Peace Corps began emergency evacuations. All 340 volunteers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are leaving. The Liberian government Wednesday ordered all schools to close and told all non-essential government workers to stay home for 30 days -- all in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

“[If the disease comes to Chicago,] Yeah, I feel that we're ready,” said Dr. Dino Rumoro of Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Rumoro showed FOX 32 one of the high-tech containment units where Rush University Medical Center would treat a contagious Ebola patient. He said the hospital's top specialists met Tuesday and again Wednesday to discuss the threat posed by the worsening African epidemic.

“If we started to see cases popping up in the United States, we'd probably convene a larger meeting to increase our level of readiness,” Dr. Rumoro added.

Also, Dr. Hasbrouck is uniquely suited to respond to an Ebola crisis, being that he’s a veteran of the CDC's Epidemiolgy Intelligence Service.

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