CDC Confirmed First Ebola Case within the U.S.
The first Ebola case outside of Africa has been confirmed. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a male patient from a hospital in Dallas, TX has tested positive for the virus.
The officials reported that the patient came from Liberia to visit his family members. He left the capital city of Monrovia on Sept 19 and arrived within the U.S. on the following day. During his commercial flight, he was screened and had exhibited no signs of an illness.
The patient started to experience symptoms on Sept 24 and sought out medical care at a hospital. At the time, the medical staff did not believe that the patient could have Ebola and sent him home. On the 28th, the patient was brought to the hospital via an ambulance and was isolated in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU). On the 30th, his test results confirmed Ebola.
"It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual ... could develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here," the director of the CDC, Thomas Frieden said reported by NBC News.
The hospital's epidemiologist, Dr. Edward Goodman, added, according to the New York Times, "We have had a plan in place for some time now for a patient presenting with possible Ebola. Ironically, we had a meeting the week before of all the stakeholders who might be involved. We were well prepared to care for this patient."
The CDC believes that the patient could not have infected anyone on his flight because he was not sick at the time. Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is sick. It is not an airborne disease. While in the states, the patient stayed with his family members, who have all been contacted.
"We have identified all the people who could have had contact with the patient while he was infectious. It is only someone who is sick with Ebola who can spread the disease," Frieden said. "Ebola is a virus. It's a virus that is easy to kill by washing your hands. It's easy to stop by using gloves and barrier precautions. The issue is not that Ebola is highly infectious. The issue with Ebola is that the stakes are so high. People are infectious with Ebola when they are sick."
All of the people who have come into contact with the man will be watched for 21 days. If anyone of them develops symptoms, such as a fever, he/she will be isolated, tested and treated.
Frieden added, "I have no doubt that we'll stop this in its tracks in the U.S."