The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola on US soil on Tuesday. There will be a press conference at 5:30 ET and we will update this post with more information as soon as it becomes available.
This is likely the patient who was in isolation in Dallas on Tuesday, according to reports by the local ABC affiliate, WFAA, but we will know more after the CDC’s 5:30pm press conference. Here is the statement from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Monday night:
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has admitted a patient into strict isolation to be evaluated for potential Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), based on the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history.
The hospital is following all federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas Department of Heath recommendations to ensure the safety of patients, hospital staff, volunteers, physicians and visitors.
The CDC anticipates preliminary results tomorrow.
While the ongoing epidemic in West Africa made an eventual imported Ebola case likely, the risk of an actual outbreak in the US is very low since our healthcare system is much more advanced than the fragile healthcare systems of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Ebola is spread via bodily fluids, so it is not nearly as contagious as respiratory viruses like the flu or SARS.
American aid workers who have contracted Ebola abroad have been brought to the US for treatment, but the case announced today is the first unknowingly imported into the US. It’s important to remember that as far as we know at this time, this new case was contracted in West Africa and brought back to the US. Ebola has never been transmitted on US soil.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected 6,574 people and killed more than 3,000, making it far larger than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. The hardest-hit countries are Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. There were also cases in Nigeria and Senegal, but those countries appear to have contained the disease’s spread, the CDC announced on Tuesday.