CDC director: We're going to stop Ebola in its tracks here

Dr. Tom Frieden on how illness is being handled


This is a rush transcript from "Your," October 6, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, President Obama says the chances for an Ebola outbreak is this country are still extremely low. He is taking more stringent protocols, though, for passenger screening both in and outside of airports and those who travel to and from this country from the affected region.

He has just wrapped up a meeting with the CDC Director Tom Frieden, who joins us right now outside the White House.

Doctor, very good to have you.

Do you agree with that? The risk of this turning into something worrisome are getting into an outright outbreak are low?

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We know how to solve Ebola. And the steps that are being taken in Dallas today are going to stop this in its tracks.

CAVUTO: How do you know? How do you know that?

FRIEDEN: They have identified every -- they have identified the 10 people who looked like they did have contact with him and 38 who might have had contact.

And every one of those 48 people is monitored. The moment if they have any symptoms, if they have fever, they will be isolated. That is how you break the chain of transmission.

CAVUTO: A -- I have had people on this show from all walks of the medical community, Doctor, who say what harm would there be in just restricting travel to -- maybe from that area, where -- particularly Liberia, Rhodesia, et cetera, where we have all these incidents? Why play double jeopardy? You say what?

FRIEDEN: Well, I understand that impulse, but we want to make sure that we do don't anything that backfires, because if you stop travel, if you isolate these countries, it makes it a lot harder to get help in, the disease spreads more there. It may spread to other countries in Africa and ultimately we may be dealing with this for years on end.

We have to stop it at the source, or we won't be able to protect people.

CAVUTO: But isn't the risk with, if they fly here -- I understand, sir.

But isn't the risk that, if they fly here, you have already hit the risk jackpot, right? I mean, they're here, they're exposed, they might not have been exhibiting symptoms at the time, but they do, and they have, and they are, and they're here, and we have got a problem?

FRIEDEN: We are looking at other things we might do to further increase safety of the American people. That's the number one priority of the CDC, of the U.S. government.

CAVUTO: Like what? Like what?

FRIEDEN: We're looking at all options. We have gotten good suggestions in. We're looking at their feasibility and whether they would be effective. We want to do something that really makes a difference.

CAVUTO: All right, when you say other options, do they include screenings and additional screenings, more stringent screenings limiting who comes here? What?

FRIEDEN: We're certainly looking at screening, for example, and what would follow-up be.

We're looking at what we're doing in those countries. We have put in place a system whereby everybody who is leaving those countries gets their temperature checked with a quality thermometer.

CAVUTO: Right.

FRIEDEN: And, in fact, we know that there have been 77 passengers removed, didn't get on planes because of that screening system that we have put in place.

CAVUTO: No doubt, Doctor, but you can't control people from lying. Right? Let's say someone who is exposed from this, and it's a 21-day incubation period, and they're writing on a form, hey, everything is fine, and then a few days later, like in the case of this gentleman Duncan who is now in Dallas, it wasn't so fine.

So how do you hold that stringently beyond just medical tests that might not reveal any problems because they haven't popped up yet?

FRIEDEN: Well, that's why we're looking at all the options. I think you have to understand that much...


CAVUTO: Could you tell what one of them are? What are one of those options?

FRIEDEN: Well, let me first make an important point, that no matter what we do, we're not going to get the risk of zero in this country or any country as long as it's spreading widely in Africa.

And whatever we do, we need to make sure that we don't inadvertently increase the risk that it spreads there and, therefore, increase the risk elsewhere, including here.

CAVUTO: So, what is the one you are doing now, short of shutting down travel to that affected area, that you're considering, going to implement, like, pronto?

FRIEDEN: Well, stay tuned. You will hear about that over the next few days. We want to make sure that whatever we propose, whatever we -- work - - will work.


CAVUTO: There are a lot of people, Doctor, who are nervous about the -- I understand sir, but there are a lot of people who are nervous about the stay tuned part because they keep getting assurances from you -- and you have been very calm in the face of all this public onslaught -- but they keep hearing guys like you and others saying, be calm, we're on top of this, we're on top of this, nothing to worry about.

I wasn't worried until all you guys kept saying, don't worry.

FRIEDEN: Well, it's normal to be scared of Ebola. It's a deadly disease. It's a terrible disease.


FRIEDEN: In fact, what we know is it's important if you're the health care worker caring for an Ebola patient, you had better be scared and use that fear to make sure that you follow every protocol so that you don't get infected.

CAVUTO: All right, I guess we just have to find out what those protocols will be.

Doctor, it's a pleasure. Thank you very, very much.

FRIEDEN: Thank you.

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