Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 30 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Solanus Casey
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Officials Confirm First Ebola Case Diagnosed in US

AP

The Associated Press - published on 09/29/14

Health officials say patient from Liberia showed no symptoms while on the plane

DALLAS (AP) — The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. was confirmed Tuesday in a patient who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas — a sign of the far-reaching impact of the out-of-control epidemic in West Africa.

The unidentified patient was critically ill and has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday, federal health officials said.

They have begun tracking down family and friends who may have had close contact with the patient and could be at risk for becoming ill. But officials said there are no other suspected cases in Texas.

Health authorities would not reveal the patient’s nationality or age. And even though they repeatedly referred to the patient as "he," they would not confirm the person’s gender.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director Tom Frieden said the patient left Liberia on Sept. 19, arrived the next day to visit relatives and started feeling ill four or five days later. He said it was not clear how the person became infected.

There was no risk to anyone on the airplane because the patient had no symptoms at the time of the flight, Frieden said.

Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus. The disease is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.

"The bottom line here is that I have no doubt we will control this importation, or this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden told a news conference.

"It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks," he added. "But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Frieden said he believed the case also marked the first time this strain of Ebola has been diagnosed outside of West Africa.

In Washington, President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.

Four American aid workers who became infected while volunteering in West Africa have been flown back to the U.S. for treatment after they became sick. They were cared for in special isolation facilities at hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska. Three have recovered.

Also, a U.S. doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.

The U.S. has only four such isolation units. Asked whether the Texas patient would be moved to one of those specialty facilities, Frieden said there was no need and virtually any hospital can provide the proper care and infection control.

Dr. Edward Goodman, an epidemiologist at the hospital, said the U.S. was much better prepared to handle the disease than African hospitals, which are often short of doctors, gloves, gowns and masks.

"We don’t have those problems. So we’re perfectly capable of taking care of this patient with no risk to other people," he said.

After arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20, the patient began to develop symptoms on Sept. 24 and initially sought care two days later. But he was released. At the time, hospital officials did not know he had been in West Africa. He returned later as his condition worsened.

Blood tests by Texas health officials and the CDC separately confirmed an Ebola diagnosis on Tuesday.

State health officials describe the patient as seriously ill. Goodman said the patient was able to communicate and was hungry.

Asked how many people the patient may have had close contact with in that time period, Frieden said, "I think a handful is the right characterization."

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
Ebola
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
3
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
6
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.