By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands of doctors who know all about Ebola, an infectious disease, are meeting in Philadelphia. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie sits down with one doctor who just got back from Africa treating those sickened by the disease.
It’s a full house at the convention center to hear Dr. Robert Fowler, who’s been treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
“There’s definitely a level of concern that’s pervasive,” said Dr. Fowler. Working with the World Health Organization, Dr. Fowler has been in Guinna, Sierra Leone, and Liberia on and off for the last six months. He says conditions are difficult. Treatment options are limited.
“At a personal and professional level that can be very tough because you’re seeing people that are experiencing an illness that has a very high mortality rate. About half of them or more will die,” said Dr. Fowler.
Ebola has taken center stage at the annual conference of infectious disease specialists meeting in Philadelphia.
“Fortunately here it’s a very different kind of illness, both in terms of keeping things under control, but also in treating patients as a real distinction of the reality in West Africa ,” said Dr. Fowler. He says he and other health care workers are very careful when treating patients. They’re always in protective gear to guard against body fluids, which is how Ebola spreads. But he’s still watching out for any symptoms.
Stahl asked Dr. Fowler, “Do you take your temperature every day?”
Dr. Fowler replied, “Not every day. If there is any suspicion that something isn’t quite right, then you would take your temperature for sure.”
The main symptoms of Ebola are gastrointestinal. They can take up to 21 days to develop.
Dr. Fowler feels confident we’ll be able to contain the virus here in the United States.
For more information on Ebola, click here.