CDC Confirms Patient in Dallas Has the Ebola Virus

CBS Dallas, September 30, 2014

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that a person in Dallas definitely has the Ebola virus. Tuesday’s official determination makes the Dallas patient the first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held an afternoon press conference. CDC Director Thomas Frieden related the information that the individual who tested positive had traveled to Liberia. The person left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20 with no virus symptoms. Frieden said it was four or five days later that the patient, who is believed to be male, began developing symptoms and was ultimately admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sunday, September 28.

“We received in our laboratory today specimens from the individual, tested them and they tested positive for Ebola. The State of Texas also operates a laboratory that found the same results,” Frieden said. After the confirmation statement Frieden went on to stress that the testing for Ebola is very accurate, saying that it’s a PCR test of blood.

Now that the virus is confirmed Frieden said the next steps are three-fold. “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 infected. And second, to maximize the chances that the patient might recover.”

Frieden said another important step would be to identify all of the people who may have had contact with the patient while he could have been infectious. Frieden did state with emphasis that Ebola DOES NOT spread from someone who is not infectious. “It does not spread from someone who doesn’t have fever and other symptoms,” he said. “So, it’s only someone who is sick with Ebola who can spread the disease.”

Officials said once those who had contact with the patient are identified they will be monitored for 21 days after exposure, to see if they develop fever. {snip}

Several minutes into the press conference Dr. Frieden paused and stated clearly, “The bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this importation, of this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country.”

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The Ebola virus has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected several Americans who have traveled to the region, including Fort Worth doctor Kent Brantly, who contracted the disease while doing missionary work in Liberia. {snip}

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