Texas Ebola Patient Sent Home Before Diagnosis, Children Exposed: 12 Others May Be Infected

A patient who has been diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the United States was initially sent home with antibiotics while showing signs of the infection, during the period when it is most contagious, according to reports.

As many as 12 people, including five children, could have been infected with Ebola before the patient was isolated, The Daily Mail asserted. The ambulance used to transport him was utilized to move other patients, though officials claim it was properly sterilized and has been isolated. The ambulance crew all tested negative for Ebola but will be quarantined for 21 days.

Texas Governor Rick Perry held a news conference with hospital officials at noon CDT. During the conference, he stated that school age children had come in contact with the Ebola patient, according to NBC News.

“The children have been identified and they are being monitored,” Perry said.

Meanwhile, Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, said that health officials were monitoring a possible second patient for Ebola infection, according to USA Today. He described the second patient as having been in close contact with the first, and stated that all who have been close to the patient will be monitored.

According to The Daily Mail, the unnamed man went to a Dallas hospital on Sept. 26, yet was sent home with antibiotics. It was only two days later that he was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation, showing symptoms of Ebola infection. As CNN notes, though his symptoms could have indicated Ebola infection among other conditions, hospital staff apparently failed to ask their patient if he had recently traveled. The patient was isolated on Sept. 28 and tested positive for Ebola on Tuesday.

According to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, he is currently under intensive care. The hospital related that the patient was in serious condition on Wednesday.

Health officials are currently tracking down family members and friends who may have had close contact with the man. As The Inquisitr has previously noted, Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids and is not contagious until active symptoms begin.

Frieden asserted that the patient traveled to Texas from Liberia on Sept. 19, but did not begin feeling sick until four or five days later. No one who was on the flight with him is at risk of infection as he displayed no active Ebola symptoms at that time. In addition to updating President Obama on the status of the Ebola investigation, Frieden asserted that the CDC would be able to control the disease.

“It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”

CDC officials are now going door-to-door to determine who may have come in contact with their Ebola patient while he was contagious.

[Image via The Daily Mail]