Ebola: Hot Zone arrives in the Lone Star State
The 1st ever documented case of Ebola in the United States was announced on September 30, 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Dallas, We have an Infection
Thomas Eric Duncan, a 42 year old Liberian national, who was traveling to the US for the 1st time to visit family in Dallas arrived in Texas on September 20, 2014. He had traveled to Dallas via flights from Brussels to Washington, DC then to Dallas. Mr. Duncan, initially showed signs of a low-grade fever and abdominal pain beginning on September 24th and was seen at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on September 26th. Although his family had informed the healthcare workers of his recent arrival from Liberia, the hospital personnel decided he did not meet the criteria for Ebola suspicion since he did not have a temperature greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. He was discharged home. On September 28th, Mr. Duncan’s symptoms worsened, and he was transported by Dallas County EMS back to Presbyterian Hospital and was placed into isolation. On September 30th, lab tests from the State of Texas and the CDC confirmed the patient has Ebola. He is currently in critical condition in the ICU. The C.D.C. has sent a team to Dallas to identify others who may have contracted the illness.
It is important to remember that Ebola does not have respiratory transmission. The disease is only spread through exchange of bodily fluids and is only contagious when symptoms appear. Thus, only those who interacted with Mr. Duncan on or after September 24th are at risk. The Director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden has stated there is “zero risk of transmission” to fellow passengers on his flights because he was not showing signs of symptoms while traveling.