Ebola scare has more visiting E.R.

Published: Oct. 3, 2014 at 8:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jan. 18, 2016 at 12:21 PM CST
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West African countries with Ebola present.
West African countries with Ebola present.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas health officials want to put your fears of Ebola to rest.

A rise in emergency room visits have healthcare workers wanting to make sure their resources are being used effectively for those really in need. Health experts assert that just because you are showing signs of a fever, does not mean you have Ebola.

"If you do not have that travel history, at this point in time you the odds are you have not been exposed to Ebola, so that scare can go away," NetHealth CEO George Roberts said.

Roberts said the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, are ground zero for Ebola. Roberts adds that the first question health professionals are asking is if you have traveled to those countries or if you have come into direct contact with the bodily fluids or blood of someone with Ebola.

Roberts adds that the people who came in contact with the Dallas patient have already been notified by the CDC.

"If you were at Presbyterian [Hospital] that day, they have a pretty good sense of who was around this guy, you don't have to worry," Roberts said.

Officials at Trinity Mother Frances said they have seen an increased number of patients using the emergency room, thinking they have Ebola. However, of those patients, none traveled to West Africa nor did they have the virus.

"East Texas has zero cases of Ebola, and we are very hopeful that will continue to be the case. All travelers from Africa are being carefully monitored," Trinity Mother Frances Emergency Medicine Director Dr. Luis Haro said.

Haro said people using the emergency room for low-acute illnesses are tying up resources that could be used on other patients with emergencies.

"If all of a sudden we have an increase in volumes of low-acute illnesses, we will have patients that will unfortunately suffer," Haro said.

Roberts said people are much more likely to catch the flu or the common cold than they are Ebola since those illnesses spread more easily. Haro added that the emergency room could put you at risk for other illnesses, so patients should consult their primary care doctor before the E.R. to limit the risk of making their condition worse.

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