Augusta doctors worried about historic Ebola outbreak

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Two Americans have contracted the potentially fatal Ebola virus while doing mission work for the North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse in Liberia. According to the World Health Organization, as of July 23, the virus has already killed 672 people and infected 1,201 people in parts of Africa.

Dr. Tarak Patel, an infectious disease physician at Doctor's Hospital, said this Ebola outbreak is something that needs to be taken very seriously.

"This is the largest outbreak in the history of humankind," he said.

This virus has meant a death sentence for those who contract it.

"The mortality is around 50%-70%," Dr. Patel said.

Ebola is a flu-like virus, spread by bodily fluids. But this isn't something that can be cured with antibiotics, or for that matter, cured at all. Dr. Patel said Ebola can cause multiple organ system failure. Even though this disease is mainly contained in Africa, with an outbreak this large, it's something to be concerned about.

"We need to start worrying about or do the precautionary measures or have awareness about it. So definitely it's one of the threats that we need to be aware about," he said.

The initial symptoms of Ebola include a fever and sore throat, resembling many other illness. This is why the disease is so hard to get a handle on.

"All the diseases are like that these days, a plane ride away. We could have a potential new patient here tomorrow," Dr. Patel said.

For more information on the Ebola virus, visit the World Health Organization's website.

Copyright 2014 WFXG. All rights reserved.