Experts say flu is much bigger concern than Ebola

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Ebola and the flu can both be deadly but only one has gotten attention recently.

Ebola has only killed one person so far in the U.S. while the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the flu kills an average of 30,000 people each year.

"It's a very serious disease but the flu is also a serious disease and those infectious diseases are something that we're used to and we're prepared to go to the next level to make sure it's not transmitted to any of our healthcare workers," Dr. Steven Shapiro, the Chief Medical Officer at Roper St. Francis Hospital said.

A nurse for the hospital is currently in Cameroon and caused some concern among the hospital's staff. The hospital management said, however, that she's 1,500 miles away from Liberia where the Ebola outbreak occurred and about 1,000 miles away from the nearest reported case, making her chances of actually catching the disease extremely low.

Both Ebola and flu have some common symptoms. Both include fever, chills, sore throat and fatigue, but only Ebola includes a rash and chest pain. To spread Ebola, someone has to have the symptoms. Unlike the flu, which is airborne, Ebola is only spread by sharing bodily fluids and not likely from simple touching.

"The reason it has been so much more concerning to people is that someone made it from Africa, Western Africa into the United States and made people weary of whether we could catch it again," Carolyn Donohue, the Chief Nursing Officer at Roper St. Francis said.

Doctors at Roper St. Francis say while the disease made it to the U.S., proper safety measures have been taken to make sure it doesn't spread here in South Carolina.

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