Ebola virus unlikely to appear in the Upper Peninsula

MARQUETTE — The first case of the Ebola virus was confirmed in Texas earlier this week.  However, there’s a slim chance the virus could make its way to the Upper Peninsula.

Hospitals and doctors need to follow recommendations from the CDC to help combat the disease, but unless you’ve been to West Africa or have had contact with a person from West Africa, the chances of contracting Ebola are minimal.

“It’s good to have perspective, that we have many more people ill with influenza and who actually die from influenza than we have had issues with these other viruses in the United States, so flu will be the next big thing coming and that hits us in winter and through into spring so all the usual precautions are good,” Dr. Terry Frankovich with the Marquette County Health Department said.

Many symptoms of the Ebola virus are similar to the flu or other viruses, meaning U.P. residents most likely are suffering from another virus.

“The symptoms, at least initially, are very much like symptoms for other illnesses, so fever, body aches, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea…those types of things can go with many different illnesses,” Frankovich said.  “Obviously for the average U.P. person you’re not going to be thinking Ebola.”

“So once again, unless you’ve had that foreign travel to West Africa or had exposure to someone who’s ill, you really don’t need to be concerned about Ebola.”

Frankovich also wants people to remember that Ebola is not an airborne illness.  It’s spread through direct, close contact with blood or body fluids.