CDC Director: Ebola 'spiraling out of control'

The Ebola outbreak has dropped off the front pages, pushed aside by news from the Middle East and Ukraine.

But the epidemic is not contained and is getting out of control, says the director of the Center for Disease Control:

The director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the Ebola outbreak is going to get worse.

Speaking to “CBS This Morning” following his trip to the West African countries dealing with the outbreak, Dr. Tom Frieden explained that they have to act now to try to get Ebola under control.

“It is the world’s first Ebola epidemic and it is spiraling out of control. It’s bad now and it’s going to get worse in the very near future,” Frieden told CBS News. “There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down, but that window is closing. We really have to act now.”

Frieden, who visited Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, will tell Washington tomorrow that the Ebola outbreak is “spiraling upward.” The CDC director explained that these countries still need help to deal with the deadly outbreak.

“We need to support countries with resources, with technical experts and with cooperation. Too many places are sealing off these countries,” Frieden told CBS News. “If we do that, paradoxically, it’s going to reduce safety everywhere else. Whether we like it or not, we’re all connected and it’s in our interest to help them tamp this down and control it.”

Frieden said that they cannot wait for vaccines to deal with the disease.

“Vaccines and treatments may come along, but right now what we have are tried and true methods that we have to scale up. They have worked in prior outbreaks but we are not getting to scale,” Frieden told “CBS This Morning.” “The epidemic is going faster than we are. We need to scale up our response. We can hope for new tools and maybe they’ll come, but we can’t count on them.”

During a CDC briefing Monday afternoon, Frieden reiterated his comments to CBS News and said that the outbreak is “now increasing rapidly.”

The World Health Organization says that 20,000 could die before the disease is brought under control.The death toll currenly tops 1500, which means we have a long way to go before we can say that the outbreak is being managed.

Some African countries are in virtual shutdown with nobody allowed in or out. But the ban is imperfect and the disease keeps spreading. Thankfully, the disease appears to be affecting only a few larger cities, but that luck can't last. The more densely packed the population, the more cases will arise.

The US has been fortunate in avoiding the disaster, but how long can that last? The CDC director thinks Ebola's spread to the US is "inevitable," so it really is a question of time.