MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The chances of contracting the Ebola virus are low in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas, according to officials, Grand Strand Medical Center is still taking precautions.
"The way we are starting here in the hospital is to actually do a travel questionnaire," says Dr. James Powers. "We look at has anyone been to these countries where the World Health Organization has put an alert out; so Sierra Leon, Liberia, and Guinea," he said.
Powers serves as the head of infectious disease control at Grand Strand Medical Center and is keeping a pulse on all the threats to the community. Dr. Powers logs on to IDSA for weekly bulletins and to get the latest information on Ebola.
Powers says if haven't traveled to West Africa and you aren't sick, there's no need to worry. You would have to come into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease to be at risk and Powers says the original point of transmission is a non-factor in our area.
"The difference in Africa is that the vector or the reservoir, so to speak, is actually from fruit bats and fruit bats aren't common in the U.S." he said.
Dr. Powers says while Ebola shouldn't be discounted, there are more real threats to the Grand Strand that the team sees everyday like: HIV, Hepatitis C, staff infection and TB, which Powers says Horry County ranks fourth in the state.
"I think really people would be more worried about just a routine bacterial infection, or a joint infection of some sort. I would say that should outweigh any concern far more than Ebola," he said.