Is the Ebola epidemic spreading its roots into the United States? That is the question everyone seems to be having in their minds, after reports of two children being reportedly tested for Ebola in Columbus, Ohio, came to light.
According to ABC News, Ohio public health officials are carrying out tests on two children to ascertain the cause of a fever both contracted after a trip to West Africa.
According to Jose Rodriguez, director of public affairs and communications for the Columbus Public Health Department, “We have two cases that we’re testing. We’re not in a panic situation.”
While the identities of the two children have been kept under wraps, it is currently known that the children happen to be two sisters, aged just 4 and 6, who were taken to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Both the children were admitted to the hospital early Sunday morning (November 23) after they showed signs of a developing fever. They have been kept in a separate isolation ward and are receiving supportive care, Rodriguez confirmed. Apart from tests to check if the children have been infected by the Ebola virus, they would also undergo tests to check for the presence of other respiratory illnesses, including influenza and enterovirus D68.
While the children’s mother was with them during the trip to western Africa, she has not been held in isolation and has not been identified as a high-risk individual because she was not in the region as a health worker. According to Fox News 8, the family had returned from Sierra Leone two weeks ago, after which they were continuously monitored twice a day for any possible Ebola symptoms.
Meanwhile, health officials have reiterated that it would be some time before the children would be “free” again. They would be kept in isolation for several more days. If an initial test result for Ebola turns out negative, they will be tested again.
As the norm is, all the hospital staff members taking care of the children wear protective gear at all times. However, if the children test positive for Ebola, the workers would undergo tests as well, confirmed officials from the Columbus Health Department.
Meanwhile, the first of the the children’s test results are expected to be out by dusk today.
If the children do end up testing positive for Ebola, it would be among the handful of Ebola infected persons to have been reported from the United States. Last month, a nurse tested positive for the dreaded disease and was eventually cured. Earlier this month, a doctor who was transported to Nebraska after contracting the disease died as he was being treated.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic has claimed the lives of over 5,000 people so far.
[Image via ABC News]