Johns Hopkins expert cautions against panic over the latest ebola outbreak

We've all heard about the latest outbreak of Ebola Virus in West Africa. Depending on your personal levels of hypochondria, you may or may not be panicking.

Vice News turned to one of our own experts, Diane Griffin, to find out whether all the worrying is warranted.

"If I were panicked I'd let you know," she told Vice in a Q&A. "I just don't think there's any reason for that."

So it's all good news, right? Not so fast, says Griffin, the Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Public Health.

"There are reasons to pay attention," said Griffin, who isn't on the front lines this time, but has worked in Africa in the past. "One of the problems is that West Africa has not really experienced Ebola before, whereas Uganda and a few other countries have had multiple outbreaks and they're a little more schooled in these control measures."

What makes this outbreak different?

It's very widespread—usually they're quite localized—and they've had a hard time controlling it. The only way to contain the virus is through the isolation of patients and a barrier mechanism for preventing people who've had contact with infected individuals from being exposed to bodily fluids. It's not really unusual for American doctors working in these areas to get infected, though that tends to be what gets it into the press outside of Africa.

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Posted in Health

Tagged infectious disease, ebola