NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — No cases of Ebola have turned up in Michigan yet, but the latest American to be hospitalized because of the virus is a Michigan native.
Dr. Craig Spencer lives in New York City but is originally from downstate Grosse Pointe. He was recently in west Africa, working with Doctors Without Borders to treat Ebola patients in Guinea. Dr. Spencer, and three people he’s come in contact with recently, have all been quarantined.
Local health experts still say the chances of Ebola entering the U.P. are minimal.
“We have exchange students who attend Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan (University) and Lake Superior State that had arrived in August,” Marquette County Health Department emergency preparedness coordinator Jill Fries said. “Those students who have arrived and are attending those schools are not infectious and, therefore, they have no ability to transmit the disease.”
Ebola spreads through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids, and it’s not airborne. In the unlikely event that Marquette County has an active Ebola case, the Marquette County Health Department would perform contact tracing.
“We need to identify, based on the information that the person would provide us, we need to speak to everyone who possibly had a contact,” Fries said. “We need to monitor their temperatures. The CDC has put out, for most people who have had a contact with someone who has been identified as positively ill, there’s a 21–day quarantine period.”
Several U.P. hospitals have said within the last week or so that while they acknowledge that the Ebola risk is small, they’ve been busy implementing precautionary measures.