Former NASA Physicist Talks About Ebola


Sunday, October 12th 2014, 10:55 pm
By: News 9


There are a lot of strategies for how the Ebola virus can be controlled. One former NASA scientist, now living in Oklahoma City, weighs in on the outbreak since he once served as management Technical Advisor for the Pandemic and Biological Disease Planning Task Force.

Before Jerry Elliott retired from NASA in 2006, he helped plan strategies for pandemic preparations in support of physical security and counter terrorism. He says although there is definitely potential for a widespread Ebola outbreak in the U.S., it's nothing scientists haven't already thoroughly looked into.

"Preparing for a pandemic is just like preparing for a mission, and you think of all the things that could fail and go wrong, you try to think through those things," Elliott said. 

Elliott knows about preparing for missions. For 40 years, he worked in NASA's Mission Control Center and even served on Apollo 13. In his research, especially while at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Elliott has looked into Ebola in years past but says it's now nothing like he's seen before.

10/12/14 Related Story: Texas Health Care Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

"It's not the first, but it's the worst," said Elliot. "The Ebola virus in Africa is the worst outbreak of Ebola in history we know of, and with that kind of virus, it's exponential in growth, it grows very quickly in a short period of time."

But despite the recent outbreak, Elliott said it's still nothing to panic over.

“I think we in Oklahoma, we have a very good state level of emergency planning and preparedness team organized,” he said.

“It made me very conscious in working and doing the previous planning of what could happen, the scenarios, and it's something to take very seriously," said Elliot. "Keep your eye on the news, watch what's going on in the country, but most of all, stay prepared."

Elliott said he stays prepared by reading up on the latest updates from the CDC, and like with avoiding any virus, he takes multiple supplements and vitamins daily, uses disinfectants, sanitizer and even gloves at gas pumps and ATMs.