The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the US has been confirmed in a man who traveled from Liberia to Dallas recently, which has sparked fears in the area's West African community whose leaders urged caution to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Miami Herald reported.
The critically ill unidentified man had been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday, federal health officials said yesterday. The officials declined to reveal his nationality or age.
Authorities had started tracking down family, friends and anyone else who might have had close contact with him and could be at risk. According to officials, there were no other suspected cases in Texas.
At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, director Tom Frieden said the man left Liberia on 19 September, arrived the next day to visit relatives and started feeling ill four or five days later.
Frieden said it was not clear how he had contracted the infection, but said he CDC would be able to stop the infection in its tracks in the US. He added, as long as the outbreak continued in Africa, CDC needed to be on guard. He added, it was possible someone who had contact with the man could develop Ebola in the coming weeks.
The patient had initially sought care on 26 September, but was sent home and was not admitted until two days later, Fox News reported. He was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where he remains critically ill, Frieden said.
The next steps were basically three-fold, Frieden said. 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 maximise the chances that the patient might recover, said Frieden.
He added, the CDC and Texas health officials were working to identify and monitor anyone who might have come in contact with the patient.
Frieden said it was only someone who was sick with Ebola who could spread the disease. He added, once those contacts were all identified they were all monitored for 21 days after exposure to see if they developed a fever.
Frieden said, at this point, there was zero risk of transmission to anyone on the flight with the patient because he was not showing any symptoms at the time of travel.