Local expert says Ebola does not spread easily

Africaâ??s Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 700 people this year.

An American working in Liberia has died from one of deadliest diseases in the world.

Patrick Sawyer, formerly of Minnesota, died from the Ebola virus after boarding a commercial flight in Africa last week.

Itâ??s not known how many people Sawyer exposed on a flight in Liberia where he worked for the government. After changing planes twice, he arrived in Nigeria where the World Health Organization said he died days later from the Ebola virus. Sawyerâ??s death just adds to the worry created worldwide because of Africaâ??s outbreak of the disease. MU Health Care Infectious Disease expert Dr. Gordon Christensen said itâ??s hard to infect others with the virus.

Dr. Christensen said, â??The only way I could get Ebola from you is if you vomited on me, if you spit on me of if you were bleeding and I got some of your blood on me. Regular contact does not seem to pass the Ebola virus.â??

Witnesses said Sawyer was visibly sick on at least one of his flights in Africa. African airport officials are checking international travelers for symptoms.

Dr. Christensen said Americans should not worry about catching the Ebola virus here in the United States. He wants us to worry about the safety of those in Africa.

Ebola virus is fatal in 90% of cases. There is no known cure. Africaâ??s Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 700 people this year.

Dr. Christensen said, â??I think our prayers should be with them. Otherwise, I wouldnâ??t be too much concerned. I think our risks are eating too much and not driving carefully.â??

Sawyer planned to visit his family in Minnesota next month to attend 2 of his 3 daughtersâ?? birthdays.

According to the World Health Organization, patients are contagious only once the Ebola virus has progressed to the point they show symptoms.