ATLANTA -- With two American Ebola patients seeking treatment in Atlanta, some local residents have questions about their own health.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Rob Dretler assures residents that Dr. Kent Brantly's family, who were with him in Liberia, couldn't have gotten the Ebola virus from him.
"You only get it from someone who is very ill," Dretler said. "Many other illnesses have incubation periods where you can be contagious when you're not sick, like influenza, but Ebola, you are contagious when you are sick."
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So how did Dr. Brantly and other health care providers get the virus? Most people think they would be the best protected. But being protected in Africa compared to being protected here are two different things, according to Dr. Dretler. He says the suits they wear don't ventilate and they're working in 100 degree temperatures, sweating.
"You have to get out every half hour and constantly taking them on and off is a little riskier than someone at Emory where it's going to be 72 degrees, 68 degrees," Dretler said. "And you know you have a more sophisticated suit and you put it on at the beginning of your shift and take it off at the end, after a bleach bath."
Dr. Dretler said a lot of care givers probably got the virus before they were aware of what they were dealing with. He said there are a myriad of diseases in Africa that mirror Ebola symptoms so they wouldn't have known it was Ebola until it became widespread.
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