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Alabama health officials prepared if Ebola spreads in the U.S.

26683203_BG1Health officials are working to protect you from the deadly Ebola virus.

A Liberian national visiting family in Dallas, Texas was diagnosed with the disease. Federal health workers are there tracking people who may have been exposed to the man who has it.

“Ebola is real. It’s here,” said Albert White with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

White said it’s possible more cities in the U.S. will see Ebola cases and he says Alabama is ready.

“Hospitals, especially large hospitals like UAB, Huntsville and DCH in Tuscaloosa, we all have had meetings will all the people involved who may be treating or taking care of someone with Ebola,” said White.

“There’s not expected to be an outbreak in the U.S.,”  said Dr. Stephen Russell, Associate Professor of Internal medicine at UAB.

Dr. Russell says to keep the disease from spreading, people who might have been exposed need to see a doctor.

He also says patients must be asked an important question.

“The main thing we’re doing differently is to ask that travel history question,” said Dr. Russell.  “Have they been to West Africa? And if someone has a fever and that travel history, it’s very important they get immediate care.”

Dr. Russell said Alabama health officials have a preparedness plan in place to screen patients who may be exposed, treat them and prevent infections from spreading.

He stressed that at this point, the public should not be worried about Ebola.

“But they should be all the more vigilant, all the more aware that infectious diseases of any  type can easily  spread,” said Dr. Russell. “If we don’t wash our hands, protect ourselves if we are sick and beware of those around us who are also sick.”

Dr. Russell wants people to know it’s very hard to contract the Ebola virus.

He’s said it’s not spread through the air.  You have to come in contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids to get it.

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