Ebola Anxiety Grows in Midland After Second Hospital Scare

Ebola Anxiety Grows in Midland After Second Hospital Scare

 by Kim Powell

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Ebola anxiety is sweeping the nation, but not necessarily Ebola.

With the third confirmed case in the U.S. making headlines Wednesday morning, the fear of it coming to West Texas keeps growing. Social media rumors led to many people believing that Ebola was already here in Midland, but those were proved to be completely false. However, two patients did go into Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH) on Wednesday, notifying health officials they were concerned after showing some symptoms of the virus.

"The patients were met and came into the decontamination room and were isolated in our emergency room," Val Sparks, the Inspection Preventionist for MMH, said.

After necessary precautions were made and CDC protocol was followed, the two patients were cleared from Ebola.

"The state did not deem them as possible cases based on the history and the signs and symptoms, and no test was authorized," Sparks said.

Hospital officials tell us the two took a recent trip to Dallas, but they were never in contact with any of the three confirmed Ebola patients. Ebola is only spread through bodily fluids of a sick person. So the big question is--what's the difference between Ebola and the flu?

"Flu symptoms are very similar. You have fever, you have body aches, joint aches, severe headache, usually with the flu you'll have sore throat and a cough in addition," Sparks said.

Symptoms for Ebola include a fever of 101.5 degrees or higher, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and unexplained bleeding.

"Also you must have travel history within the last 21 days to the African endemic area," Sparks said.

If patients do not meet this criteria, they will not be tested for Ebola, which can only be done by the State Health Department in Austin.

MMH says they are still prepared for more false alarms because of all the type and the fear surrounding this virus.

"It was a great practice again to permit our plan and I'm glad it was a false alarm and we've learned from this experience again," Sparks said.