CDC Confirms First US Ebola Case
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus to be diagnosed in the United States.
An unidentified Texas man returning from West Africa is currently in “strict isolation” at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, CNBC reports. The patient was quarantined due to his symptoms and recent travel history.
Dr. Christopher Perkins of the Dallas County Health Department told reporters the patient didn’t start displaying symptoms of Ebola until after returning to the US.
“We know at this time this person was not symptomatic during travel but became symptomatic once arriving here and being home for several days,” said Perkins. “So that decreases the threat that might be to the general population.”
Four American aid workers have contracted the often deadly virus in West Africa, where it has killed at least 3,091 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Senegal. The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed more than 6,500 Ebola cases in Africa.
The four Americans were evacuated to the US for treatment. Although past Ebola outbreaks, the first of which occurred in 1976, have killed up to 90 percent of infected individuals, the death rate in the current outbreak is around 60 percent, largely due to early detection and treatment. All four of the infected Americans survived.
According to the CDC, the 2014 outbreak is the largest in history and the first-ever Ebola epidemic. Last week, CDC warned that as many as 1.4 million West Africans may be infected with the virus by the end of the year.
CDC says the risk of a US Ebola outbreak is “very low”:
Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening. CDC is working with other US government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has also deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.
Ebola is transmitted through close contact with the blood and other bodily fluids of a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, monkeys, fruit bats, porcupines and forest antelope. The virus then spreads among humans via direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected individuals, or contact with objects contaminated with these fluids.
After an incubation period of 2-21 days, symptoms begin to appear. These include fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.