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Benton-Franklin Health District: Area Prepared to Handle Ebola Situation

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NBC Right Now has been getting a lot of questions about our area's preparedness for the Ebola virus. NBC Right Now has been getting a lot of questions about our area's preparedness for the Ebola virus.

NBCRightNow.com - NBC Right Now has been getting a lot of questions about our area's preparedness for the Ebola virus

The communicable disease doctor at the Benton Franklin Health District, Dr. Amy Person says all our local hospitals and health providers are following official protocols by the Centers for Disease Control.

The primary question health providers ask patients is about their travel history. 

Right now, the only African countries affected by Ebola are Sierra Leon, Guinea and Liberia, so unless a person has traveled to those areas, no furthers screenings for Ebola are necessary.

"Because the symptoms of Ebola can overlap with many other illnesses, the primary risk factor is travel to the affected countries. We have not seen anyone who have traveled to those affected countries that's been ill in our area," Dr. Person said, adding that Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, it is not airborne.

So, medical providers are most at risk, as we have seen with two cases here in the U.S.

Doctor Person, also says there are no direct flights from West African countries to Washington State, and the airports that do receive those flights across the country are screening travelers for ebola symptoms.

She also says, if a local hospital were to receive a patient with symptoms like a fever, stomach problems or unusual bleeding and the patients had traveled to an Ebola stricken country, the hospital would inform the health department, isolate the patients and gather more information for the screening process.

Dr. Person says locals hospitals would be in contact with the health department to make sure they are following the right protocols 

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