OKLAHOMA CITY – The first confirmed case of Ebola Virus was reported this week in Dallas, Texas.
The Texas patient went to a hospital and was later sent home. Two days later he went back and was admitted.
Many Oklahomans are now concerned about whether Ebola could cross the border into our state.
Doctors say the Ebola Virus is scary because it’s really unknown here in the U.S.
This recent case has doctors asking new questions of those with flu-like symptoms.
Doctor Robert Welliver Sr, an infectious disease doctor with OU Children’s Physicians, said, “You should be concerned, but how concerned should you be? Not much.”
Dr. Welliver says while it tends to look somewhat like the flu, with body aches, headache, fever and sore throat, Ebola Virus does not spread through casual contact with others.
Welliver said, “You can walk around all day with a person who has Ebola Virus and not catch anything from them.”
He said, “It’s not going to suddenly go through schools or through OU’s stadium.”
Welliver says the virus is spread through bodily fluids. He says a sneeze could lead to the spread but *only* if the infected person sneezes directly on you and you then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
Welliver said, “That’s a body fluid, so cover your mouth when you sneeze.”
Dr. Welliver says it’s also only contagious if you have symptoms.
However, the Texas case does have doctors taking a closer look at patients with flu-like symptoms. Many doctors are also asking patients to be honest about their recent travels.
Welliver said, “It’s incumbant on you as a patient, if you’ve just come back from West Africa tell people that when you get sick.”
Doctors say it can take anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure for symptoms to appear. Remember, the virus is only contagious once symptoms begin.
Doctors say the best advice is nothing new, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.