September 30, 2014
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 Dallas patient the first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are holding a press conference at 4:30 p.m.
It was late on the evening of September 29 that CBS 11 News learned a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas was feared to have been exposed to the Ebola virus.
Health officials said given the information that the unnamed patient had been in the West Africa area where the Ebola virus exists and the type of symptoms they were exhibiting, testing was being performed.
After the information was related to the CDC the health institute sent a team to North Texas just in case the patient was infected with Ebola. CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, is already in North Texas and will be a part of the 4:30 p.m. press conference. The press conference will be streamed live here on CBSDFW.COM.
Other CDC officials, including Public Health Preparedness and Response member David Daigle, are en route to Dallas.
Monday night Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas released the following statement:
“Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has admitted a patient into strict isolation to be evaluated for potential Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) based on the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history. The hospital is following all Centers for Disease Control and Texas Department of Heath recommendations to ensure the safety of patients, hospital staff, volunteers, physicians and visitors. The CDC anticipates preliminary results tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Of course, since the patient was already in “strict isolation” officials at Presbyterian Hospital said that will continue.
On Monday night CBS 11 spoke with Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson, who stressed that there were certain procedures that would need to be followed if tests for the patient come back positive. “We [health professionals] all had been planning to look at what our next steps are if there is a confirmed case,” Thompson said. “Again, we have to do the public health follow up to see what contacts, where this individual has gone since they arrived here in Dallas. There are a number of things that have to be looked at.”
Before it was confirmed the patient definitely had the virus, Thompson spoke about the possibility of other North Texans being infected by the patient. “The key point is, if there’s been no transmission, blood, secretion, any type of bodily fluids by the infected person to someone else, then that [infection] risk is low to none.”
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The Ebola virus has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected several Americans who have traveled to the region, including Fort Worth doctor Kent Brantly, who contracted the disease while doing missionary work in Liberia. Earlier this month Dr. Brantly donated a unit of blood to help treat an American aid worker being cared for in Nebraska. While the medical procedure hasn’t been proven, doctors were experimenting to see if antibodies in Kent Brantly’s blood could help strengthen the immune system of the patient. There’s no word on if that approach will be taken with the patient in Dallas.
In all, four infected patients have returned to the United States in specially outfitted planes — three were treated in Atlanta and the fourth, who Dr. Brantly donated blood to, in Omaha. An American physician who was exposed to the virus, but not infected, was flown to Maryland over the weekend.
Since July 27, a dozen people in the U.S. had been tested for Ebola, but all those tests were negative.
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