By: Sean Curry
The world’s first person to be diagnosed with the dreaded Ebola virus outside of Africa is in the United States. The man was admitted into Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas earlier this week on Sunday, said hospital officials. The officials explained that the patient is being confined to an isolation ward and that the hospital is following the recommendations and guidance being provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to keep doctors, staff and patients safe. Dr. Edward Goodman, an epidemiologist working at the Dallas based hospital, said on Tuesday that the hospital has been preparing for a possible Ebola patient and had a “plan for some time now.”
The man in Texas who had contracted Ebola had recently flown in from Liberia to visit his family members who reside in the United States, state health officials claimed. Authorities said there was a possibility of others in the U.S. to become infected with the deadly virus, but they did what they could to assure the public that this will not become an epidemic. The current director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, addressed the media on Tuesday; stating “It is certainly possible someone who had contact with this individual could develop Ebola in the coming weeks,” he continues “I have no doubt we will stop this in its tracks in the United States.”
The world’s worst outbreak of Ebola has infected more than 6,500 people across five West African countries and killed over 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the World Health Organization. Infections are now doubling every few weeks, claims the WHO as they predict an increase of 20,000 cases by early November, while the US (CDC) says that if nothing changes there could be upwards of 1.4 million cases by late January at least. Symptoms of Ebola usually appear between anywhere between two and 21 days after contraction, meaning there is a large window of time in which an infected person can escape detection, allowing them to travel.
Ebola is not contagious until patients begin to show symptoms that generally include fever, vomiting, muscle fatigue, diarrhea, internal and external bleeding. Ebola is spread by close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or by touching the corpse of a person who died from the deadly virus. Frieden said a “handful” of people, mainly family members, are believed to have come in contact with the man while he was sick. They are being closely monitored for any symptoms.
Some lawmakers and officials have urged the US government to take stronger action to prevent Ebola from entering the country. “Today’s CDC announcement shows the need for active screening for Ebola at US points of entry,” said Ohio Senator Rob. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Portman, California congressman Ed Royce, voiced his concern about the fatal virus, stating that it “presents a clear and present danger not only to West Africa, but to the broader international community.”