On September 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM EDT, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a press conference with hospital and public health representatives from Dallas, Texas to announce that test results had confirmed a case of Ebola in a traveler from Liberia. The patient was not ill during his flight to the United States and presented with symptoms after being in the country for four days visiting family. The patient is in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and is receiving supportive care. Dr. Edward Goodman, Hospital Epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, noted that the hospital acted on plans that had been recently put in place with both the Texas Department of State Health Services and Dallas County Health and Human Services to respond to Ebola.
The CDC is confident that the potential spread of the virus will be controlled and stopped. Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, outlined the agency’s approach to stop the spread of the disease, in collaboration with state and local health departments and healthcare providers,:
- Provide the most effective and safe care possible to maximize the patient’s chance of recovery.
- Keep to an absolute minimum the number of people affected.
- Identify and monitor the patient’s contacts for 21 days and isolate contacts who become ill.
Dr. Frieden also emphasized that the CDC is supporting the state and local health departments in the response, tried and true public health interventions like contact investigation and infection control will stop Ebola, and a CDC epidemiology team in on its way to Texas to help identify contacts.
Additionally, Dr. Frieden noted that, while this is the first patient diagnosed with this particular strain of Ebola, other patients with viral hemorrhagic fever have been treated in the United States, including Marburg virus in 2007, which is very similar to Ebola. In the 2007 case, the patient was hospitalized and went through surgery before being diagnosed and the virus did not spread. Ebola, like Marburg virus, is not highly contagious and requires direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected, symptomatic individual.
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