Ebola Epidemic 'Out of Control'

ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser and CDC Director Dr. Tim Frieden on the deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa and urgent transport of two sick Americans.
7:34 | 08/03/14

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Transcript for Ebola Epidemic 'Out of Control'
fast. And now, the race to save two Americans stricken with the killer virus. This morning, breaking details on the emergency mission to bring the first patient home. Border bedlam. No action from congress on a surging humanitarian crisis. Our reporter on the ground with the dramatic impact on the border patrol and the families still crossing over. Then -- She is gone! Remembering baseball's biggest moments -- It gets through Bucknor. -- With the legend who brought so many of them home. It's time for dodger baseball. Announcer: From ABC news, "This week" with George stephanopoulos begins now. Good morning. It's an image sparking hope and fear for many Americans. Christian missionary and ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantley back in the U.S. Walking into Emory university hospital Saturday. Then reuniting with his wife through a glass wall. Bazi kanani starts us off. With the latest on this extraordinary operation to bring bra Brantly home. Reporter: Dr. Kent Brantly arriving Saturday, the first ebola patient on U.S. Soil, whisked through Atlanta by balance. Then, that's him on the right in a full bio suit, walking, with assistance, into a special isolation unit at Emory university. A 5,000-mile journey from Liberia on a jet modified with a tent to prevent contact with bodily fluids, which is how the disease is spread. Officials say they're confident his treatment and that of his colleague, Nancy, who will arrive in a few days won't put the public at risk. We do not believe any health care worker, any other patient, any visitor to our facility is in any way at risk of acquiring this infection. Reporter: Meanwhile, the biggest outbreak of ebola in history already called out of control by aid groups in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leo Leone, is getting worse. More than 700 dead so far. Governments reacting with drastic new measures. Soldiers on the streets. Disinfectants sprayed in public places. And schools closed. What is the situation there on the ground in Liberia? The situation is dire. Our health care capabilities and capacities are truly overstretched and overtaxed. Reporter: Here, protesters wait for bodies to be removed. And standoff when six people here refuse to be taken to a treatment center for ebola. In the U.S., 20 quarantine stations are ready. In case infected travelers arrive. And caution in Washington, where participants arriving from the affected countries for the u.s.-africa summit will be screened. Authorities on alert should another case of ebola turn up unexpectedly. For "This week" bazi kanani. ABC news, Washington. Joining us, from the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden. And our own Dr. Richard Besser. Also a veteran of the CDC. Rich, let me begin with you. You've been in that isolation chamber. Tell us more about it and what the prognosis is for Dr. Brantly right now. He was supposedly very ill in Africa. Seeing him walk out of that ambulance is a positive sign. I've spoken to one of the doctors that is on the team taking care of him. Two infectious disease specialists, two highly trained nurses. They'll wear that same protective gear that we have been seeing. They'll be able to monitor him much closer. Give him fluids, blood transfusions, the kind of care not available in Liberia. And lots of worry here. Are we taking an unnecessary risk? I want to show a tweet from Donald Trump. He says the U.S. Must immediately stop all flights from ebola-infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our borders. Act fast. How do you respond to that? Ebola is scary. We understand people being afraid. The plain truth is, we can stop ebola. We know how to control it. Hospital infection control and stopping it at the source in Africa. You know, we're not going to hermetically seal the borders of the U.S. We're reliant on the world were travel, trade, economy, communities, families. The single most important thing we can do to protect Americans is to stop this disease at the source in Africa. Dr. Frieden, is it safe to send CDC workers into Africa? We're surging our response. And we're going to put 50 staff on the ground in these three countries to help stop the outbreak in the next 30 days. And we put safety first. Staff have experienced hostility from groups so upset. We immediately withdraw them. And we make sure that if we're taking care of patients with ebola, we have the proper gear so we keep the risk to an absolute minimum. There's a concern that the world is responding effectively right now. Yeah, I mean, there's a big concern. The world health organization put out a plan that $100 million are needed to control this. I've talked to public health experts who say that is a gross underestimate of what that will take. Public health traditionally low-balls the figure. There's two reasons. There's a humanitarian reason for stopping this in west Africa. But the conversation shows we have a self-interest in doing that. And the conversation really has to look at what will it take to beef up the health system to control this where it is? What about, Dr. Frieden, a vaccine? The nih is planning human trials in September. Is there promise there? What is the block to getting it out quickly? We would love a vaccine. It would be very helpful, especially to protect health care workers. In the best case, it's a long way away. It's uncertain. What is certain, we know how to stop ebola now. The tried and true public health mechanisms work. You find the patient. Isolate them. You find out who their contacts were. You trace the contacts. You track them every day for 21 days. If they get fever, you start that process again. You make sure there's good infection control. And you educate the community in Africa about safe burial practices. When you do those simple things, ebola stops, as every previous ebola outbreak has been stopped. Right now, it's out of control in west Africa. It may well spread further in that region. What we can do and what we're doing is surging our response to put out the embers. Ebola is like a forest fire. If you leave one ember burning, it can flare up again. That's why it's so important that we control it. Finally, rich Besser, Joshua lederberg wrote, the single biggest threat to man's continued dominance on the planet is the virus. Are we doing enough to address this broad threat of viruses? I don't think we are. We have been far too much in a reactive mode when it comes to new emerging infections. There has to be a much bigger approach. A much bigger effort to try to look at where will the next virus emerge? How do we prepare for that? Wherever it may occur. Thank you both very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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