Hospitals need to stock up on protective equipment, to the extent they can find more supplies.

Health care workers are particularly susceptible to catching and spreading viruses like this one. But in terms of having enough protective equipment on hand, hospitals are “woefully unprepared” for a large-scale outbreak, Osterholm said.

The federal government also needs to be ready to step in, if a large number of cases start to crop up in concentrated areas.

Tracking infected people’s contacts is “going to overwhelm state and local public health departments very, very quickly,” Klain said.

Another lesson from the Ebola scare, experts said, is not to downplay the risks.