The United States Centers for Disease Control confirmed Tuesday that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tested positive for the Ebola virus. Although the disease has ravaged western Africa since March, health experts say there is little need to worry about an Ebola epidemic in the United States.

The United States Centers for Disease Control confirmed Tuesday that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tested positive for the Ebola virus. Although the disease has ravaged western Africa since March, health experts say there is little need to worry about an Ebola epidemic in the United States.


Ebola is a serious, usually fatal virus which causes internal and external bleeding and eventually organ failure. While many organizations are currently working on treatments for the disease, the CDC states that there is no known cure. But as dangerous as the virus is, it is also difficult to contract.


Some diseases can travel through the air. Someone with the flu, for example, can spread the disease just by walking around and coughing in public places. Fortunately, that is not how Ebola works.


According to Darlene Foote, a media representative for the CDC, the only way to contract Ebola is "through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected person or exposure to objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions."


In Africa, Ebola can spread quickly because of poor sanitary conditions, lack of education about the disease, lack of access to health care and a distrust of hospitals. It can be very difficult, according to the CDC, to contain and stop the spread of the virus under those conditions.


Dr. Minaxi Rathod, an infectious disease specialist at Texoma Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian – WNJ, said in a recent interview that a full-scale outbreak of the virus in the United States is very unlikely "because of infection control measures, immunology, recommendations, and even our culture."


"We are all so health conscious that we will definitely follow whatever recommendations come from the Centers for Disease Control," Rathod said. "That plays a part in preventing the spread of the disease. I think culture is a big thing."


The United States has a strong public health infrastructure which can isolate, contain and even help treat patients, said Rathod.


For now, the CDC has some simple recommendations on how to stay safe and avoid the virus. Tips include practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids. Initial signs of infection include high fever (over 101.5 degrees), muscle pain, weakness and severe headache. The CDC recommends anyone showing those symptoms seek medical care immediately.