Lawmakers get an update from CDC, the State Department & others on Ebola outbreak

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POSTED: Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 8:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 8:14am

Today lawmakers hear from the CDC the State Department and others, including Samaritans Purse - the relief organization whose two American Ebola patients are in Atlanta being given an experimental treatment.

"I think we've got to let the science guide us. I don't think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful," said President Barack Obama.

Wednesday the CDC upped its alert to level one, signaling a serious health emergency that could last a while.

As flu season begins, the CDC is pulling people off that, sending 50 more to Africa in the next month.

With concerns growing here, experts are clarifying what Ebola can and cannot do.

"If you're just sitting in a room with someone and you're talking to them or you're accidentally walking down the street past one, it's not contagious," said Dr. Anthony Fauci National Institutes of Health.

But contact with bodily fluids is highly contagious.

That's why we're seeing extraordinary attempts to isolate patients.

"They'll come into an emergency room and say 'I have a fever, I have diarrhea.' The first thing you ask is ''What is your travel history?' And if they say 'I've been to a West African country', then immediately you would isolate them and protect the people that are taking care of them," said Dr. Fauci.

That's why experts think an outbreak here is possible, but highly unlikely.

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