First Ebola Case Diagnosed in US

The first case of the deadly Ebola virus diagnosed on US soil has been confirmed in Dallas, Texas. Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital say the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation. The man is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia before travelling to the US nearly two weeks ago.

“An individual travelling from Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola in the United States,” said Thomas Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director.

According to Frieden, the unnamed patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the US the next day to visit relatives, without displaying any symptoms of the virus.

Symptoms of the virus became apparent on September 24, and on September 28 when he was admitted into a Texas hospital and put in isolation. A hospital official said that on Tuesday the facility already had procedures in place to deal with any such potential cases. Preliminary information indicates the unnamed patient was not involved in treating Ebola-infected patients while in Liberia.

Health officials are working to identify all people who came into contact with the unnamed patient. Those people will then be monitored for 21 days to see if an Ebola-related fever develops. Frieden explained that it is possible a family member who came in direct contact with the patient may develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But “the bottom line here is I have no doubt that we will control this importation, this case of Ebola, so it does not spread widely in this country,” he added. The World Health Organisation says more than 3,000 people have died of the virus so far, mostly in Liberia.

However, the White House communications department has started creating awareness through social media that while the virus is potent, it is relatively hard to contract.

“You can’t get Ebola through air. You can’t get Ebola through water. You can’t get Ebola through food in the U.S.,” Obama administration said in a rapid-response graphic shared on the White House website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“America has the best doctors and public health infrastructure in the world, and we are prepared to respond,” they noted. From West Africa where the disease is reported to have killed about 3000 people, a number of US aid workers have recovered after being flown to the US. It is the world’s most deadly outbreak of the virus.

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