Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Dallas | Ebola

Dallas Health Officials: There May Be a Second Ebola Patient

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:31 PM

A possible second Ebola patient is being monitored closely in Dallas after close contact with a man who is now hospitalized after being diagnosed with the deadly viral disease, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson told a local television station Wednesday.

"Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents, the fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient," Thompson told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA. "So this is real. There should be a concern, but it's contained to the specific family members and close friends at this moment."

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On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that a man who left Liberia on Sept. 19, while not showing any symptoms, is now a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and is the first to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

The patient initially was reported as being in critical condition on Tuesday, WFAA reports, but he's now been upgraded to serious condition.

However, before the unidentified patient ended up in the hospital, he had been in Dallas visiting relatives for several days, according to CDC Director Tom Frieden. On Sept. 26, he sought treatment at the hospital's emergency room, but was given a prescription for antibiotics.

Two days later, an ambulance brought him back with critical symptoms.

According to health officials, Ebola is contagious only when patients are showing symptoms, and is spread through bodily fluids such as contaminated blood.

Thompson told WFAA that everybody who has been in close contact with the patient is being monitored, but that the one person is being closely observed as being a potential second Ebola case. That person has not been confirmed as having the disease.

Thompson still assures residents that the public as a whole isn't at risk, as health officials have the virus contained.

Frieden said Tuesday that he does not doubt the CDC will stop the Ebola virus "in its tracks" in the United States.

Meanwhile, local officials told the ABC affiliate that the patient was in contact with several children in the days before his hospitalization. The children are being kept at home and are being monitored, said Thompson, and the Dallas County School District said its working closely with health officials.

"DISD is in contact with Dallas County Health Department regarding the Ebola investigation," said district spokesman Jon Dahlander. "They are consulting with the county on any additional action that may need to be taken during the course of investigation. This is part of routine emergency operations during a health incident in the county. This is same protocol taken during things like flu and tuberculosis cases."

The CDC and Dallas County are working together on a "contact investigation," reports WFAA, and is keeping emergency room staff and others who were in contact with the patient under observation for 21 days.

But Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth, told the station that the Liberian population in North Texas, which numbers about 10,000, does not trust the CDC's assurances.

"We've been telling people to try to stay away from social gatherings," Gaye said Tuesday.

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A possible second Ebola patient is being monitored closely in Dallas after close contact with a man who is now hospitalized after being diagnosed with the deadly viral disease, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson told a local television station Wednesday.
Dallas, Ebola
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2014-31-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:31 PM
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