None of the 114 people who came in contact with a Dallas man diagnosed with Ebola have exhibited any symptoms, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which may indicate the virus is contained in the area for now.
As of late Saturday, the CDC and the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas have found no symptoms and no new cases spreading from the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States, according to NBC News. Daily monitoring will continue, but it appears as though the Ebola outbreak in Dallas has been contained.
Nine people are known to have had close contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in America. All of them remain free of symptoms. This group includes Duncan’s girlfriend Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s distant relative and a family friend. All nine have been moved to an isolated private residence for close observation, according to the Associated Press.
About 40 other people from an initial group of 114 may have had some level of contact with Thomas and are also being watched. Suggesting a Dallas outbreak has been contained, so far none have exhibited any symptoms of Ebola.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden also reported that about 100 possible cases had been reported across the country. Of those, 15 actually merited investigating. All of them turned out to be false alarms, suggesting that any U.S. outbreak of Ebola has also been contained or prevented. Among the false alarms was a New Jersey airline passenger that got sick during an international flight.
“We have definitely seen an increase in the numbers since this patient was diagnosed,” Frieden said at a press conference. “That is as it should be. We would rather have a wider net cast so that we are more likely to find someone promptly if they did have exposure.”
Meanwhile, while hope that a possible Ebola outbreak in Dallas has been contained and maybe even eliminated, Thomas Eric Duncan’s condition was downgraded to critical as his situation worsened Saturday, according to Reuters.
Duncan returned home from a visit to his native Liberia on September 20 and began feeling ill a few days later. A trip to a Dallas hospital resulted in him being sent home, a medical decision that is still being questioned. For two days, Thomas remained ill and came into contact with a number of people. When he returned to the hospital, he was finally diagnosed with Ebola.
There are currently only five Americans known to have been infected with Ebola. All were infected during trips to West Africa. The latest victim is an NBC News freelance cameraman, who became infected while covering the outbreak in the region. He returns to Nebraska for treatment on Sunday.
Ebola can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea. It is not an airborne virus and can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from a person with symptoms. Bodily fluids can be blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Despite the challenges West Africa has had in containing the virus, Ebola is considered less contagious than HIV, SARS or the measles, and no more contagious than Hepatitis. Because of that and the medical technology available in the United States, the CDC is confident an Ebola outbreak in the country can be contained quickly.
[Image source: NBC Bay Area]