Deadly Ebola Outbreak Spreads in West Africa

Fears of Ebola spread as 1 American is dead and 2 American aid workers infected.
16:45 | 07/30/14

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Transcript for Deadly Ebola Outbreak Spreads in West Africa
The deadliest outbreak in a bola. Sorry guys. The deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. Nearly 700. People dead. Among them an American and now NGOs and other health organizations are looking to evacuate some of their personnel. From the infected region. I'm down Cutler in New York the Ebola outbreak. As also -- more than 16100 people in West Africa including two American health care workers. There have been hundreds of cases reported in Guinea Sierra Leone Liberia and now the virus has spread to Nigeria. Where that American -- The outbreak it started in -- back in April has claimed 427. Lives in getting -- loan. -- BBC's to a resume there as more outbreak and its -- from Guinea. The latest and one of the youngest victims of inside. Wrapped in -- -- -- plastic bags is the tiny -- a four month old via. His family -- T scans to attend his burial. -- Kathleen lay to rest my strangest. The virus spreads through contact with a patient's quality candidates -- helpless concealed themselves -- seats. With ten pitches hit forty degrees Celsius. It's monotonous and harrowing luck. -- -- -- too often they defiant in his final nine minutes. I hit their diet I was now with him just before he -- I had been sitting in Minsk. I stepped away just emotional break and -- -- was code thanks and you instead. I was so that -- -- -- is -- at times I just go outside and cry and then. Some people believe medics are actually bringing -- him and harvesting organs from the debt. The -- yet another death community need is hit agreed to hear the truth about to Diana. -- -- Atlanta and crucially how to stop it spreading. A few days ago helplessness couldn't even get into this -- -- but. I have to make a breakthrough hit today people popping out that sick relatives under agreeing to detect signs of incidents. This man convinced his sick mother to get help she had a hind feet that -- vomiting few days. -- have been seven deaths in this small village say follow the medics say many more could be infected. Some polls from affected villages come through this makeshift diagnostics -- trade. British scientists are among the -- testing for the virus. Sometimes funerals seeing patients who have brought in the very young. It's they're testing positive and -- points to its very -- It's visiting time back at the treatments and to. And thirteen year old -- phones himself and a bonus of -- are often getting treatment sandy has come to see his little system. It's kidneys. Initial tests and Marion have come back negative. But Sabina is a crew and indiscriminate violence. And -- is very sick and many knots of life. -- -- -- -- -- For the latest on the spread of the bullet into Nigeria I want to bring it Reuters chief Nigeria correspondent Tim Cox from Lagos. Tim that the first death in Nigeria but -- what do we know about the liberian American who died there. What we do -- he came in week Sunday. And the having just arrived in the apple very quickly turned himself in to authorities with. Very bad vomiting diarrhea and -- high fever. He had already been on the plane. With two legs of the Jenny so one stop and in -- in Togo and one's thought. -- so the potential benefits for spreading the inspections policy quite high. He should not post signs Manny be near about the sickness on the plane which as far as this something because. The disease is used -- and infectious he started -- -- symptoms. He was rushed. -- hospital -- in isolation. -- he died. Shall be off of that he died last Friday. And the hospitals and quarantines and the oldest off who what your -- senator also being put on the monitoring. The -- meant that trying to do now is making contact with all the people he potentially had contact with on the plane -- -- I'm in the hospital and banks taking some time because they've they've had problems tracking down the the manifest of flight manifest. Given the nature of how this virus spreads take -- to West Africa what is the level of panic or concern there. There's been a lot of panic. Especially if you take -- the united Lagos if -- in the ponson who has been something that comes to break out in in a remote area of the forest he's the unity -- -- -- -- -- like where it was both festive and -- The use of the that the possibility of transmission is quite look -- I think and then this case of someone coming on a flight. Well what that is certain is that is that when once. Brady this breaches -- -- areas which it now seems to be doing. The possibility for spread especially anywhere there's -- international connections. Is -- -- high senator. You know the nightmare scenario has always been you know of -- Hollywood movies that there's a big outbreak in the city. Lagos is about as good destination -- that as you can imagine with a human necessity of 21 million -- people extremely densely packed may be events -- rounds. 50000 plus square mile that's roughly about the same as. Places -- -- tobacco in Bangladesh. What happens in the and a bit of risk is very very realism a lot of people are very very scared. The government is already putting out warnings in English and in pigeon English. About you know how to prevent the disease took the -- with hand washing and reports anyone with suspicious symptoms. -- -- the boundaries that seeing that the unpaid medical state authorities did actually take. Actually quite quickly -- -- -- is the question of whether. Patrick managed to infect anyone else who is now so -- base and make. Well I wanted to ask about that specific because given the nature of Lagos is a business it's a commercial hub obviously has international connections every -- so what are authorities doing man given the transit in the travel that's happening. Well Dave days they see -- have to strike a balance between on the one -- stopping the disease spreading around. -- -- -- not spending too much panic about it I'm I think they've been. Reasonably we hope they've been reasonably up from about the situation. And that event being -- and -- one case. And him being isolated very quickly. They always seem very keen not to discourage business people investors from coming -- because it is as you -- one of the biggest. A commercial -- and Africa is a huge hub for the oil and gas industry. Full full -- coming sympathy Coleman's. It's. -- massive consumer market there's a lot of business the goes on -- and the last thing they want -- people being too scared to come. The good -- there's going to be some kind of Ebola outbreak. That said they -- there is a very very real risk overseas Lagos is not. Hugely hugely well connected like -- with the team excited I'm inspect or even. Not have to be as well connected this thing Nairobi in Kenya that it is is there a daily flights to London Thursday flights into and you'll. And then there's of course the risk that some little -- in -- in the very much about the travel -- -- both within the country and as a lot of people with money to travel outside -- -- country. That someone could take -- on on a plane and they could end up and in and -- western capital that I would actually be far less devastating than it being. In Lagos in the prospects -- 200 because the health infrastructure. In a city like bagels. Is just sort of poll and sanitation is bad we've with the erotic city where did so mainly 1% of people -- -- Well given that then -- -- -- and other points around the world. We are learning and becoming more familiar with the Ebola Virus but what does the knowledge base there. In western Africa as far as understanding you both the threats the concerns the prevention. But when you say that the knowledge -- you mean how how widely. The spread is if this knowledge you mean how when and pulled into the public right exactly. Well I mean all of these companies. -- -- problem with education that that they admitted decline over the years. Syria and in in my -- and now government involvement among them there's a lot of fear health workers. A lot of people who don't really understand way voter is who would normally if they're sick go to the traditional. -- over which -- And if you are seeing people going to hospitals and coming out that and then people walking out with these sort of funny white suits. It looks pretty scary third -- we have -- takes -- The united the relative to of one of the victims instantly on managed to do to grab them from the hospital where they're being treated and then they bathe -- and then make the -- ambulance. Being taken back so yes there's a lot of mistrust there's a lot of and lack of education and Syria and in -- beer or both parents. Civil -- that that lasted a couple of decades of -- of the incident. And they're pretty much wiped out a lot of important infrastructure like health like education. Nigeria doesn't really have quite the same -- but because of -- corruption and mismanagement it's also -- education -- -- But bad news -- years and you still have very much a tradition. Whereby people seek. -- the sea sickness. In -- all. Spirit political spiritual attacks aren't so if I'm sick it's because someone has done some kind of which -- Both some ancestral spirits have have invaded -- And very very trying to guarantee their traditional -- total two out of touch which promises to kill. These things so yes there is an issue of -- people being info about what a -- is. How it spreads and time -- they need to do to protect themselves from it. That's that I I -- things suddenly and in Nigeria and and did it more recently now and in the hundreds there there. -- -- -- -- -- Making an effort to try and spread them as they really in in as many languages -- they get out there telling people this is what you need to do if you fentanyl patches. A sense of urgency being spread around the nation -- reporting from Lagos four Reuters Tim Cox and thanks much for time for your reporting appreciate that I want to bring in now our. Chief medical editor doctor Richard Dresser here in New York conduct special -- but this to America's from the samaritans -- a group working in Liberia they've been infected. What is their status well they -- there in their status is is -- We improved today but still very serious that's according to there there aid organization. And now a lot of information coming out of there and and -- -- clearly not out of the woods. What kind of care that are you receiving once you contracting Ebola Virus well yes there is no drug to to fight the virus there's no vaccine to prevent infection. What you need to do in the in providing treatment is to try and stabilize the person there can be a lot of vomiting and diarrhea and you you have to give fluids to -- that. Get to check their their blood chemistry to make sure that those are in line you can give something. To to treat the fever and and some nutrition. But what things were hearing coming out of these affected countries is this. An overwhelming shortage of health care workers and it takes a lot of labor to take care someone who has a -- because of this soiling of the of of individuals and and the nature of the disease you have to be so careful in terms of how you're working with somebody. And how you're cleaning them up and how you're keeping the environment clear if you don't have enough health care workers then it it that errors can be made people -- on. Shifts for too long. Will receive this video here that looks as if somebody's health care workers that are in. Almost Hazmat -- -- almost complete isolation from those that are having to -- that they are treating. Is there were process right now is it being reviewed as far as is it is it are they protecting themselves and -- are there new steps that they might need to implement in order to to create a safer barrier. You know I I wore one of those seats during the -- -- outbreak in Uganda and putting it on -- going into one of those words was one of the more frightening things I've I've done in in my public health career. It is absolutely stifling in those suits you can only stand to be in -- hot -- for fifteen minutes or so before. You become overheated and dehydrated. And so you then have to come out and one of the more dangerous parts of of the experience. Is taking equipment off you have to be sprayed down with -- -- each layer is is coming off. If it's not being done exactly correctly that's when a lot of contamination -- can occur. We we've heard that one of the Americans who -- was involved in. In the the process of decontamination. And one of the one of those stories it's coming out is that someone else who was involved in decontamination may have had Ebola. And that's how these two individuals became infected that's not confirmed. But the but that's definitely a plausible story. I -- fat -- has numerous times today and over the past couple of days but I think it is a point worth making again and again. The nature of Ebola it is incredibly infectious but it is not airborne correct that -- that is very important it's not spread like the flu like measles where just being in the vicinity of someone who has the illness you can you can get sick. -- the aid is possible if someone were on a plane and they were symptomatic that someone nearby if they. Came in direct contact with that an individual or -- if especially if that person was. Was being sick on the plane that it could spread if that if if a patient contaminated a -- -- -- could -- could spread that way. But -- -- western hospitals are very very different it's a world apart from what's going on in in western Africa. In western hospital and individual possibly could expose someone in the emergency room but -- very quickly be be isolated and so you would not see. Spread very very far beyond there. The difficulty that we're seeing in Africa is is really twofold one is getting people to come in for care so that they can receive treatment but also. Be isolated from the community. And then what's called following the the the chain of infection. And what you -- to do there is follow every single person who is in contact with -- known case to see if they develop symptoms so that they can then be quickly isolated as well. There's been so much movement of people across the borders of these countries so much distrust of health care workers that. Did those simple steps have not been able to be implemented and that's why this disease has spread so far. Looking at the logistics lastly if we can't doctor investor -- passer. How then do you transport a patient who is infected. Yeah -- -- when I was at the CDC I was I was in charge of emergency response and one of the things that we work to develop was -- was a containment unit that fits inside of a small jet. And you can take that unit anywhere in the world put someone in there and while they're flying there will have no contact with anyone else on that plane and that is a safe way to. To move an individual. You know it's not clear whether any of the the Americans who are sick are are going to be evacuated but there are safe ways to do that. To get them back to an American hospital. Still development situation that obviously has concern not only for Africa but obviously the rest of the world as we are watching these cases. Doctor Richard -- in New York -- -- thank you for your time appreciate that it's. Of course you can keep up with the store in real time by downloading ABC news -- -- starting the story for exclusive updates on -- go. For now. I'm Dan -- New York.

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

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