MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities professor is closely watching the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Christy Hanson is dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College.

The World Health Organization on Friday issued a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

This epidemic is so virulent, in that it’s being transferred person to person.

“It’s now become even more of a concern because it’s spread to another country,” she said.

She said the real concern now is breaking the transmission cycle.

“There is a lot of stigma, and people are very fearful,” she said. “The fatality rate is close to 90 percent. So families are very fearful.”

She said it might be in some cases that people are showing symptoms, but are too afraid to come forward.

Another challenge is finding health care workers to come to the aid of the suffering.

“There health systems are already dealing with very limited human resources,” she said.

Several countries are imposing restrictions on travel.

“Especially those countries that border those affected. So Senegal is a case in point. They’ve restricted land travel,” she said.

There are trucks sitting with produce that is rotting.

Hanson said that as far as the disease making its way into the United States, and even Minnesota, the chances are slim.

“We have excellent systems for screening in place,” she said.

She said there are quarantined stations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

While there is fear of it spreading, she believes there’s a very slim chance, and we are prepared in the event it does.


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