Expert calms fears about contracting Ebola on a plane

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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SEATTLE, Wash. - While news spreads about a second Texas nurse exposed to Ebola taking a commercial flight the day before her diagnosis, health experts are downplaying the risk to the general public.Epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Duchin of Public Health - Seattle and King County told KIRO 7 air travelers do not need to worry about catching Ebola on a plane.

"The risk to travelers is small, it's miniscule, for most people it's zero and there's no reason to be concerned," Duchin said.

According to FlightAware, the Frontier plane made five more flights before being taken out of service when the CDC notified the airline that the nurse had reported symptoms.

Duchin said even if there were blood or bodily fluids left on the plane, the transmission risk is low

"The virus itself is not hardy. It doesn't survive for very long on environmental surfaces. When it dries out, basically, it's unlikely to be infectious at all," Duchin said.

Duchin offers a reminder that Ebola is only affecting the general population in three West African countries.

"If you haven't been there in the past 21 days you don't have anything to worry about unless you are a health care worker taking care of a very sick Ebola patient," Duchin said.