Flu vs. Ebola: Doctors say symptoms are similar

With the first Ebola-related death of a patient receiving treatment on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, there are fears and concerns revived today about how to spot the disease.

Symptoms for early stages of the Ebola virus, are very similar to another disease America is very familiar with, the flu.

This year, health experts are urging people to get vaccinated to eliminate confusion.

"It often presents in the same way with fever, cough, runny nose, achy, but that's in the very early stages of Ebola" said Dr. David Harvey at the Georgia Department of Health.

He says people with these symptoms could panic, thinking they have Ebola. They're more likely to have the flu.

Getting the flu vaccine will not prevent Ebola, but it would help physicians diagnose true Ebola cases.

"Have you had the flu vaccine? Well I got it a month ago. That lessens the likelihood that it's influenza. And it raises your antenna a little bit in the other direction" said Harvey.

It's unlikely that anybody would contract Ebola in Central Georgia, or across the U.S, but people should be anxious about catching the flu.

"36,000 people per year according to the CDC die from the flu" said Harvey.

So far, only one person in America has died from Ebola, but thousands expected to die this year from the Flu.

The department is making the process of getting vaccinated easier by offering drive-thru flu shots

"Drive thru at one Window they do paper work and then the next they get their shot and they're off" said Nancy White at the Georgia Department of Health.

On Thursday and Friday people can get the vaccine without leaving cars, protecting themselves and complying with the old adage that prevention is better than cure.


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