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Ebola Could Show Up in US This Month

Study of air traffic patterns puts chances at 18%
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2014 11:14 AM CDT
Ebola Could Show Up in US This Month
Dr. Richard Sacra is seen in this undated family handout photo working in Liberia.   (AP Photo/Doug Sacra)

(Newser) – Dr. Rick Sacra, the third American to contract Ebola, landed in Nebraska last week and will be moved to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment. Experts insist there is no risk to the public, NBC News reports, but a new study in PLOS Currents finds that Ebola could soon make its way inside US borders on its own. The study looked at global flight patterns and passenger screening and found that the chance of at least one case arriving in the country by Sept. 22 was as high as 18%, NPR reports.

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"What is happening in West Africa is going to get here. We can't escape that at this point," the study's lead author says, adding it would likely occur in "small clusters of cases, between one and three." The study also points to a 25% to 28% chance of the virus reaching the United Kingdom and a 50% chance of it spreading to Ghana before the month is over. If the virus isn't contained, the likelihood of its spread will "increase consistently," the study notes. On a more optimistic note, Sacra's wife says, "Rick is clearly sick" but "was in good spirits and he walked onto the plane" that took him to Nebraska. "We are really encouraged by that news." (Meanwhile, Sierra Leone is going on lockdown to fight Ebola.)

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