The New York Times is reporting that a health care worker from Texas has tested positive for Ebola. The healthcare worker, who has not been identified yet, was among the people who helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Thomas died on Wednesday, and the health care worker was an employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where the United States’ first Ebola patient underwent treatment.
The NY Times report adds that he had complained of a low grade fever on Friday night following which he was isolated and was referred to doctors to undergo further tests. The affected healthcare worker is now being interviewed to check if he inadvertently managed to infect other people with whom he was in close contact.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed the development in a statement that reads as follows.
“A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the Ebola patient hospitalized there has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test at the state public health laboratory in Austin. Confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.”
The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. The preliminary test result was received late Saturday.
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
“Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures. People who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.”
“Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. People are not contagious before symptoms such as fever develop.”
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is planning further tests on the individual who has tested positive for Ebola.
The Ebola virus has been wreaking havoc in several parts of Africa all through the summer of 2014 and has resulted in the deaths of over 4000 people. Over 8300 people were in all affected by this deadliest ever outbreak of the disease. Mr. Duncan boarded a flight from Liberia to the United States on September 19 and was initially not identified as an Ebola patient. He fell sick on September 25 and was discharged quickly before being re-admitted again on September 28, when his condition worsened.
[Image Via AP]