Has Ebola Reached a Tipping Point?

ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Dr. Richard Besser returns from the hot zone and sounds the alarm on the spread of Ebola.
3:40 | 09/07/14

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Transcript for Has Ebola Reached a Tipping Point?
And we're back now with the latest on ebola. The outbreak set to explode across Africa. On Friday, the white house asked for $30 million in new funding. But experts like our Dr. Richard Besser, are calling for more dramatic action. Our Dr. Richard Besser is back from the hot zone with this report. Reporter: The tipping point. When this deadly virus spreads into Africa may have come this week, in Nigeria. From just one case, a diplomat traveling from Liberia, a contact held in quarantine snuck out and infected the doctor who treated him. Now, 21 my je1 Nigerian cases of ebola. In this country, figures can change. Look what's done in the rest of west Africa. Nearly 4,000 cases. More than 2,000 deaths. With more likely undocumented. If we don't stop it here, we'll deal with it for years around the world. Reporter: The world health organization predicts as many as 20,000 infected by year's end. That could be just the beginning. The virus could expand exponentially. This doctor is a leader at the W.H.O. At this time, we have to jump on it. Because if the Numbers keep getting larger and larger, it just means it becomes more difficult to control it. Reporter: You see this outbreak going on here in west Africa. The spread to Nigeria. Why should Americans care about this? It's on the other side of the world. Well, it's on the other side of the world only on a piece of paper. In reality, we're so interconnected, we live in a world where people can travel with infections to anywhere. Reporter: How are you doing? I have seen the misery in Liberia. Where the outbreak continues to gain momentum. This was last week. A neighborhood in Monrovia quarantined by police. Riots and frank hostility. Some residents believing ebola is not real. They've been in this compound for seven days? Eight days. Eight days. Eight days. Reporter: Eight days? The ongoing problem? In a country like Liberia, there's one doctor for every 86,000 people. As the outbreak continues, some of those health care workers are dying, infected with the virus. But there is some hope. If patients get supportive care, liquids, nutrition. Fever medicine. Some do survive. Three Americans were brought back to the U.S. To receive the finest of care. While west africans continue to struggle. We'll see more cases, infections, more deaths if there isn't a step up in the effort of the world. Reporter: The writebols hope the silver lining of Nancy's struggle will be bringing attention to the situation that was not there before. There was not as much awareness as this is today. As a result of Dr. Brantley and my wife contracting the disease, everyone is aware this problem is taking lives. And I don't think it's the end of this story either. And rich, you used to run emergency response for the CDC. You're saying we need a military-type response? What does that mean? I've seen outbreak response around the world. I have never seen anything that is as disturbing as this. They don't have the resources, the personnel to take care of this. Military-style response could be U.S. Troops providing hospital ships, equipment. Not just the U.S. Others can do it as well. The only way to have the scale to take this on? Exactly. You have to scale up in way we haven't seen before.

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