University President Steven Knapp offered up his plan on Friday to quell fears of an Ebola outbreak: get a flu shot.
Knapp said the University is taking the opportunity to encourage students and faculty to get a flu vaccine since the symptoms of the seasonal illness are similar to those of Ebola. His remarks came after doctors at GW Hospital evaluated a patient for Ebola last week and determined he had the flu, according to a statement from the hospital.
“The symptoms of Ebola and the flu are initially indistinguishable,” Knapp told members of the Faculty Senate. “Obviously the outcomes are quite a bit worse.”
Knapp added that the University and GW Hospital are “developing all the necessary protocols” after a man in Texas died of Ebola and a patient at Howard University Hospital last week showed Ebola symptoms, but ultimately tested negative.
GW Hospital spokeswoman Wendy Adkins did not return multiple requests for comment about the hospital’s preparations to respond to Ebola.
More than 4,000 people have died in the latest outbreak of the virus in West Africa, the World Health Organization announced today.
But Knapp said chances of the disease spreading are rare, and slammed media coverage of the potential for outbreak.
“It’s a mixed bag when CNN does this. They want to reassure and terrify you – it’s how they keep the ratings going,” Knapp said.