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Patient History, Education Important To Calming Ebola Fears

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The UPMC Presbyterian Hospital ER is seeing patients worried about Ebola.

"We have patients coming in asking about if their symptoms could be related to Ebola," says Dr. Donald Yealy of the UPMC Emergency Department. "Generally, people have a fever, or a symptom that feels like a viral illness, like the flu, and has had some either travel or contact."

By taking a careful history about travel and close contacts, he says the doctors can tell it's not Ebola.

"This is a very deadly infection, there's nothing wrong with being afraid about it. What we know though is it really isn't easily transmitted, and we have no evidence of any contact here in Pittsburgh or western Pennsylvania," Dr. Yealy says.

Getting good information can calm fears.

"Allowing your fears to take over is what will create more of a panic and it won't be helpful to your care," he stresses.

Bottom line -- the risk for Ebola is low.

It is the tip of flu season, and other viral illnesses, including the flu, can cause similar symptoms of fever and muscle aches and might be a more likely explanation.

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