State Epidemiologist Says Oklahoma Is Prepared For Ebola

Friday, October 10th 2014, 11:30 pm
By: News 9

As the Ebola death toll tops the 4,000 mark in West Africa, worries in the U.S. are also climbing.

Friday, the State Health Department ruled out Ebola in a metro patient who thought they had the virus.

But Oklahoma is prepared, according to the state epidemiologist.

Understandably, there is tremendous concern with the Ebola virus and the possibility it could reach our state.

Despite a scare Friday morning, there are no confirmed cases in Oklahoma.

Health officials said the possibility of the virus making its way here is extremely low.

“We want to ensure everyone that there are plans and preparedness steps in place,” said state epidemiologist, Dr. Kristy Bradley.

10/10/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Health Department Holds Ebola Discussion

So far, according to the state health department, at least four patients have been screened after having "Ebola-like symptoms." But none were considered "suspect" patients because they simply didn't meet the criteria for the virus.

Friday morning, health officials confirmed a patient at Deaconess Hospital was being monitored due to possible Ebola symptoms.

But that patient does not have the virus, and Ebola testing was not even warranted.

“Persons could be at risk of exposure if they come in direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids containing the virus,” said Bradley.

Three countries in western Africa also known as "hot zones" have widespread transmission of Ebola. Anyone who may display symptoms is going to be asked about their travel history.

“People are only contagious when they are sick with symptoms of the disease, said Bradley.

Dr. Bradley admitted there is a lot of anxiety and frenzy surrounding Ebola and the screening process.

But she said there's no need to worry at least for now.

According to EMSA, the spread of the virus has people calling 911 concerned they're experiencing Ebola symptoms.

Many may also confuse the symptoms with the flu.

“Flu-like symptoms can be found as signs and symptoms of a number of infectious diseases, and so we shouldn't confuse influenza with Ebola,” said Bradley.

State health officials are on high alert but we're told Ebola is not circulating the United States, and there are no "risky areas."