Mike Sugerman's About The Bay

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — There are plenty of fears surrounding the Ebola virus, but there’s another more common virus that can be deadly. Flu season is coming up, but many people don’t seem to be all that worried and often do not take precautions against it that are available.

Some are more concerned about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, a disease they know little about and are concerned the fear will spread to the United States.

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Last week, a teacher in Oklahoma agreed to place herself under a 21-day quarantine after she returns from a trip to Rwanda in early November for a mission trip with her church because of parents’ concerns.

Rwanda – where there has never been a case – is 1,000 miles away from the Ebola zone in west Africa.

“People in the neighborhood … some of them are panicked,” said New York City councilman Mark Levine in an area where a doctor is being treated for Ebola. “In fact, I had one gentleman who wouldn’t even shake my hand.”

So why aren’t people in the U.S. who are worried about Ebola not getting their flu shot?

“No I haven’t got my flu shot yet,” one man told me.

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Another woman told me her friends got sick after taking the shot so she “didn’t want to take that chance.”

“The more individuals that decline immunization, the more people that are put at risk,” said Dr. Bob Benjamin, deptuty director of the Marin County Health Department.

He said that means you can easily give others the flu when you get it.

“[Flu shots] are safe, readily available and the content of this year’s current vaccine covers the viruses that we are just now beginning to see emerge this season,” Benjamin said.

Half of the population in the U.S. regularly doesn’t get flu shots. The flu kills 3,000 or more a year. 50,000 when it’s a really bad season.

“Flu mortality is greatest in the elderly population and also in the very young. I can’t imagine anyone that can afford to go a week without work,” he said.

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And if you’re worried about getting Ebola on BART someday; “You’re far more likely to get the flu on BART than Ebola.”