Officials: Local Ebola Case is Highly Unlikely
Local health officials say it is unlikely that passengers that shared a flight with an Ebola patient, contracted the virus.
Thursday, October 16th 2014, 3:26 PM PDT by
Thursday, October 16th 2014, 4:48 PM PDT
A local unidentified man has been screened for the Ebola virus, after a flight from Cleveland to Dallas, that an Ebola patient was on. The man has been screened and there is no indication that he came into direct contact with Amber Vinson during the flight. (The Dallas nurse was infected after treating an Ebola patient.)
The man was on that plane but he didn't sit near the patient and it's unlikely she was even contagious during the flight. 132 people were passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143.
The CDC contacted those passengers, including the local man who was screened at a Renown Urgent Care, in Sparks.
"They went through the patient's condition and didn't meet any criteria," Kevin Dick, District Health Officer said. "So, they were released from there."
The Washoe County Health District is using caution, working with the man, who is also self-monitoring. There is likely no risk to the community.
"People that should be most concerned about are us, here at the health district and our medical community, the hospitals, and our emergency response personnel," Dick said.
Dick says the health district is in regular contact with more than 800 medical professionals, putting out information as it becomes available. He says that as long as there is an outbreak in western Africa, we won't be at zero risk.
"Having the passenger that came from Cleveland through Dallas, and then ended up here, shows us that we live in a small, connected world," Dick said.
Ebola can only be transmitted through immediate contact, through bodily fluids, with someone that is showing symptoms.
"It's important to understand that Ebola does not spread like the flu," Dick said. "It's not an airborne disease, like other infectious diseases."
While Ebola is concerning, Dick says what Americans should be more cautious about is the flu. Especially, since people have prevention tools at their disposal.
"We have tens of thousands of people that are killed, every year, in this country, from flu and pneumonia," Dick said. "We know it's coming. There's a shot available. People should take advantage of that."
Influenza and Ebola have similar symptoms and that's another reason why health officials say it's important to get a flu shot. The more people vaccinated means less cases that could be confused with Ebola and clog up the system.