EBOLA HITS THE U.S. STRIKING IN DALLAS
CDC Confirms Patient In Dallas Has The Ebola Virus
Updated: September 30, 2014 6:36 PM
Via CBS DALLAS
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – 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 patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas the first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State Health Services, Presbyterian Hospital and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) all participated in 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.
As far as the medical condition of the infected patient, Frieden did say that he “is critically ill at this point.”
Doctors said the patient will remain in North Texas and be treated at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Frieden expained why that decision was made saying that almost every hospital in the U.S. that has isolation facilities, can do isolation for Ebola. “So we don’t see a need, from either a medical or a infection control standpoint, to try and move the patient,” he said.
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. Frieden said, “If they develop fever then those same criteria are used to isolate them and make sure that they are cared for as well as possible, so that they maximize their chances [for recovery] and to minimize or eliminate the chance that they would infect other people.”
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.”
Dr. Frieden did admit that is possible a family member or other person who had contact with the patient, while he was infectious, cold develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But he said, “There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”
It still isn’t known how the patient became infected but Frieden said he “undoubtedly had close contact with someone who was sick with Ebola or had died from it.”
The Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, David Lakey, M.D., joined the press conference by phone and explained that a specially trained team in Austin had been certified to perform Ebola testing back in August. Blood samples from the patient were received at the Texas Public Health Laboratory at 9 a.m. and by 1 p.m. were definitely confirmed to be Ebola.
Noting the contact with state, national and local North Texas agencies Lakey said, “We have no other suspected cases in the state of Texas at this time. We’re committed to keeping Texas safe.”
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