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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 29th, 2014
05:50 PM ET

NIH official: Ebola in U.S. possible, but outbreak 'extremely unlikely'

(CNN) – A few cases of Ebola may yet strike developed nations like the United States, the United Kingdom, or other European countries. But the likelihood of an outbreak like the one ravaging West Africa at the moment is fairly low, says a director at the National Institutes of Health.

There may be "a case or two outside of Africa, but it is extremely unlikely that it will explode into the outbreak we're seeing now," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases at the NIH.

Hospitals in developed countries are equipped with well-tested ways to contain Ebola, and have "good contact tracing, you can contain it," said Fauci.

Ebola has now spread to a fifth country in West Africa. Sengal confirmed its first Ebola case one week after closing its border with Guinea over fears that the deadly outbreak could spread, the Senegalese Press Agency reported Friday.

The Ebola outbreak "continues to accelerate" in West Africa and has killed 1,552 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

"The situation has really (been) overwhelming because it's taking place in countries that don't have the infrastructure to be able to deal with it," said Fauci.

The international community now needs to provide West Africa with more isolation facilities, contact tracing abilities, quarantine measures, and protective equipment to effectively deal with Ebola.

"The effort has to be ratcheted up at a much, much higher level. Because the situation there is really, extremely serious," said Fauci.

For more of our interview with the NIH's Dr. Anthoni Fauci, check out the video above.

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