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Ebola case diagnosed in US

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Sep 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-30 19:52:45-04

The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed on U.S. soil.

The patient is being kept in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case in a press release Tuesday.

"I have no doubt that we will control this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said at the press conference.

The infected patient was a man traveling from Liberia to visit family in the U.S. He developed symptoms on Sept. 24, four days after he arrived, Frieden said. Ebola is not contagious until the infect person becomes ill, Frieden said, so there is no risk to other people who were on the plane.

The man was admitted to the hospital on Sunday.

"He's ill, he's under intensive care," said Edward Goodman of the Texas Heath Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. More information about the patient was not available due to privacy laws.

Goodman said the Texas health department is tracking down family members who may have been exposed.

Family members or others in close contact with the patient might become sick with the disease, Frieden said. Ebola spreads through close contact with bodily fluids. It is not transmitted through the air.

There were no other suspected cases of Ebola in Texas, said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Those infected with Ebola have symptoms including fever, severe headache, diarrhea, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising, according to the CDC.

"The issue is not that Ebola is highly infectious. The issue is that the stakes are so high," Friden said.

Ebola was never before diagnosed in the United States. In 2007, a man was diagnosed with Marburg virus, a type of hemorrhagic fever that's related to Ebola.

In recent months, four American health care workers with Ebola were treated in U.S. hospitals. They contracted the disease while working in Africa.

Three were treated at Emory University Hospital. Another American patient was released from The Nebraska Medical Center three weeks after being admitted. The first two patients were treated with the experimental drug ZMapp. The supply of that drugs has been exhausted.

More than 6,500 people have been infected with Ebola in West Africa during the worst outbreak in history. At least 3,000 have died, said the World Health Organization Monday. Cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

President Barack Obama on Sept. 16 called Ebola a national security priority and committed to establishing a military command center in Liberia. Obama also said the United States would build more than 1,000 beds as well as additional treatment units.

The United States will devote as many as 3,000 troops and $500 million that will include building 17 treatment centers with 100 beds each in Liberia, according to the NBCNews. The United Nations has said it will take $1 billion to control the disease.

 

 

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on twitter at @GavinStern or email him at gavin.stern@scripps.com