A man with possible Ebola symptoms is at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. as of Friday morning. The patient recently traveled to Nigeria, according to NBC News. Doctors are working with the CDC to properly diagnose the person.
Hospital spokesperson Kerry-Ann Hamilton said, “In an abundance of caution, we have activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including isolating the patient. “Our medical team continues to evaluate and monitor progress in close collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Health.”
With news of Ebola in Texas, Americans have been careful and fearful of an Ebola outbreak. In that case, the Dallas hospital released Eric Duncan even after he warned nurses about being in West Africa. An error with the hospital’s electronic health record system is reportedly to blame for the current health scare.
Duncan, the first person to become diagnosed on American soil, came in contact with many other people. He is in stable condition as of Friday (October 3). Research is still being conducted to determine the true possibility of the virus spreading. Duncan’s home is also being power-washed by a crew.
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in Dallas, the center of the current ebola scare. CDC Director Tom Frieden, assures that measure are being taken to control the situation.
“We are stopping Ebola in its tracks in this country. We can do that because of two things: strong infection control that stops the spread of Ebola in health care; and strong core public health functions to trace contacts, track contacts, isolate them if they have any symptoms and stop the chain of transmission. I am certain we will control this.”
These are hopeful words that should calm down worried Americans, including those in Washington, D.C.
Back in Washington, D.C., however, precaution is creating a bit of a stir. Hamilton added, “For privacy reasons, we cannot share additional details about the case. We will continue to provide key updates as the situation warrants.”
At this time, it is uncertain if the patient in D.C. does or does not have Ebola.
The good news is that Ebola is unlikely to become an epidemic in the United States. The “R nought” number (R0) for Ebola — that is, the mathematical term to determine how contagious a disease is — shows the virus is less contagious than measles, mumps, and HIV, and about as contagious as Hepatitis C. Not that minimizing the virus is productive, but it’s important to keep a cool head while we await more information.
[Image courtesy of Adam Cole / NPR]