Tags: ebola | texas | symptoms | epidemic

Ebola Hits America: What Will Happen Now?

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:32 PM

Americans have been terrified for months that the deadly Ebola virus would cross our border ­-- and now it has happened. Now that it may have a foothold, will the virus rage out of control in the U.S. as it has in West Africa where it has killed thousands?
 
“We can stop this if people are vigilant, but this depends on the individual and their willingness to follow the procedures that have been put into place,” David Sanders, one of the nation’s top Ebola researchers, told Newsmax Health.
 
In the wake of man in Texas being diagnosed with the disease, officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control vowed that Ebola will be “stopped in its tracks.”
 
They maintain that the agency has excellent containment and isolation procedures, unlike governments in West Africa, which have relatively little healthcare infrastructure or epidemic containment expertise.
 
The CDC says it is tracking all people who the man may have been in contact with, an indication that the system is working as it should, said Sanders, an associate professor of biology at Purdue University who has led teams studying Ebola.
 
CDC officials confirmed Tuesday that a man, whom they have declined to identify, arrived in the U.S. on a commercial flight from Liberia, one of the “hot zones” where the disease is raging. He is now being treated in a Dallas hospital.
 
He is the first traveler to have brought the virus to the United States on a passenger plane, and the first in whom Ebola has been diagnosed outside of Africa in the current outbreak. Mexico had a suspected case of the disease earlier this week, but the patient tested negative.
 
“What is happening in Texas tells me we do have the infrastructure in place to identify and contain the disease,” Sanders said.  However, he added that such a system only works if the doctors and hospital staff are vigilant about spotting the disease, which may not have occurred in the Dallas case.
 
Despite suffering from Ebola, the Texas patient was initially sent home from the hospital with antibiotics before returning two days later. It was only at that point that Ebola was recognized. He was immediately placed in intensive care, where he’s been in critical condition.
 
“It doesn’t surprise me that the man was sent home initially because the disease presents just like a bad cold of flu at first. But you need to ask if the person has been traveling. This would be the tipoff that further testing is needed,” said Dr. Michael Zimring, director of the Center for Wilderness and Travel Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
 
“Doctors need to ask the patient whether they have traveled outside the country and where they’ve been. And doctors also need to know what diseases are prevalent in that country. If they’ve been to South America, you think about malaria and dengue fever, and if they’ve traveled in Africa, you think about Ebola,” Dr. Zimring told Newsmax Health. He is author of the book, Healthy Travel: Don’t Leave Home Without It.
 
At least 3,091 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. More than 6,500 cases have been diagnosed, and the CDC has warned that the number of infections could rise to as many as 1.4 million people by early next year without a massive global intervention to contain the virus.

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Americans have been terrified for months that the deadly Ebola virus would cross our border -- and now it has happened. Now that it may have a foothold, will the virus rage out of control in the U.S. as it has in West Africa where it has killed thousands? "We can stop...
ebola, texas, symptoms, epidemic
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2014-32-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:32 PM
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