Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FIRST IMPORTED U.S. EBOLA CASE CONFIRMED

September 30, 2014 - The worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history has officially killed more than 3,000 people in several African nations since it erupted six months ago in Guinea. Today it was confirmed that a patient with Ebola is being treated in isolation at a Dallas, Texas hospital.  The adult male entered the U.S. from Liberia 10 days ago, then checked into a hospital on Sept. 26. In a frightening turn of events, the man was sent home and not admitted until Sept. 28.  In addition, reports CBS Dallas, "the EMS crew and ambulance that was used to transport a patient now confirmed to have the Ebola virus in Dallas has been isolated."

UPDATES:
From Fox News (emphasis added):
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that a patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case diagnosed in the United States.

The patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20, CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. It’s the first patient to be diagnosed with this particular strain of Ebola outside of Africa.

“[The patient] had no symptoms when departing Liberia or entering this country. But four or five days later on the 24th of September, he began to develop symptoms,” said Frieden.

Ebola virus
The patient, visiting family in Texas, initially sought care on September 26, but was sent home and was not admitted until two days later. He was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where he remains critically ill, according to Frieden.

“The next steps are basically threefold,” said Frieden.  “First, to care for the patient … to provide the most effective care possible as safely as possible to keep to an absolute minimum the likelihood or possibility that anyone would become affected, and second, to maximize the chances that the patient might recover,” said Frieden.

Frieden said the CDC and Texas health officials were working to identify and monitor anyone who may have come in contact with the patient.

“It's only someone who's sick with Ebola who can spread the disease,” said Frieden. “ Once those contacts are all identified, they're all monitored for 21 days after exposure to see if they develop a fever.”

CDC's 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Outbreak Distribution Map
2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Distribution Map
Source: Centers for Disease Control
Ebola FAQs: Early this evening, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's parent company tweeted that they had posted a "Frequently Asked Questions about Ebola Virus" page on their website.

"The current Ebola epidemic is the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of the disease in the history of the virus," write Kaisa Stucke and Bill O'Grady in a must-read article.

"More cases have been diagnosed and more people have died than in all the prior outbreaks combined....The countries that are most affected by the virus are Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but Nigeria and Senegal have also experienced cases. Liberia has been the hardest hit, with more than half the fatalities occurring in this country."

Excerpts from Fox News:
  • [Dr.] Frieden added that while it is possible that someone who had contact with the patient could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, he has no doubt the infection will be contained. At this point, he said, there is zero risk of transmission to anyone on the flight with the patient because he was not showing any symptoms at the time of travel.
  • Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas said the hospital has had a plan in place for some time now in the event that a traveler brought Ebola to the United States, noting that the team had a crisis preparedness meeting a week before the patient arrived at their facility.
  • Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas officials said in a statement Monday that an unnamed patient was being tested for Ebola and had been placed in "strict isolation" due to the patient's symptoms and recent travel history, and that the facility was taking measures to keep its doctors, staff and patients safe....
  • People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure. Ebola isn't contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.

As the Ebola outbreak grew more rapidly than expected last summer, U.S. health officials began preparing "for the possibility that an individual traveler could unknowingly arrive with the infection. Health authorities have advised hospitals on how to prevent the virus from spreading within their facilities," reports ABC7 Chicago. "People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but that does not guarantee that an infected person won't get through. Ebola is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread."

The Centers for Disease Control calls this the "first imported case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States." CDC notes that over the past 10 years "the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States."

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