The USA yesterday confirmed the first “wild” Ebola case in after a patient tested positive for the virus in Dallas. The CDC has been deployed and contact tracing has already begun in partnership with State Officials. The United States has previously successfully contained hemorrhagic fever caused by similar viruses including Marburg and Lassa.

Confirmed Details:

  • Patient arrived in the United States on the 20th of September
  • The Patient did not exhibit any symptoms of the disease on arrival
  • First symptoms were noticed on the 24th and 25th of September
  • On the 26th of September the patient sought medical care and was sent home
  • The Patient was admitted to hospital on the 28th of September 2014
  • The Ambulance team that transported the patient are on the contact tracing list
  • Two tests have been confirmed as positive for the Ebola Virus
  • The case was confirmed positive by the CDC on the 30th of September 2014
  • The patient was infectious for 4 days before being isolated
  • This case is the first historical importation of Ebola to the United States
  • Patient was visiting family in Texas
  • The Patient used commercial airlines
  • There are no direct flights from Liberia to Dallas
  • The flight departed on the 19th of September 2014

Timeline of events:

Timeline of USA Ebola Case

Timeline of the First USA Ebola Case

Questions:

Why was the patient sent home on the 26th of September?

No official answer has been provided however the CDC guidelines and recommendations clearly indicate that patients should be asked for a travel history to determine their risk profile for the virus. It is possible that the Medical Examiner did not establish the patients travel history or that patient lied when asked.

The examining Nurse has a responsibility to establish a patient’s travel history but a patient should also volunteer the information if it is relevant.

Which Airline carried to patient to the USA?

Officials have avoided answering the question to date in an effort to prevent panic and to protect the identity of the patient. It is very likely that multiple flights or airlines were involved as no direct flights are possible between Liberia and Dallas. Ebola is not known to be contagious prior to the onset of symptoms indicating a very low risk for transmission during the flights.

How many contacts have been identified?

The process is ongoing but so far 11 have been confirmed including 3 ambulance staffers who transported the patient. Probable contacts include Nurses and general Hospital staff that received the patient on the the 26th and 28th of September, as well as family and close friends.

I live in Dallas, should I be worried?

Probably not. Ebola is a highly infectious disease in very close proximity to a patient but it is not airborne and does not spread the same way flu does. You should take the time to read ourĀ Ebola prevention page and seek medical attention if you suspect that you have Ebola.

Will experimental drugs be used on this patient?

It is possible that the CDC will engage with the Doctors responsible and determine the appropriate action. There are several factors in deciding treatments for a patient. It is a fair bet that any possible treatments will be considered. Ebola has no confirmed cure but several treatments have shown promise in recent months.

Is the patient an American Citizen?

No confirmation on the identity of the patient is available at this time. The CDC stated in a Press Conference that the patient was in the USA to visit family which suggests that the patient is not an American citizen or not a full time resident.

How many Liberians live in Texas?

At least 10000 Liberians live in North Texas however the patient is not yet confirmed as a Liberian National.

How will the CDC contain Ebola in Dallas?

The CDC is a supporting body and will assist state authorities in their efforts to prevent further spread of the disease. Standard processes include tracing of all possible contacts and isolating them at the first sign of symptoms. Nigeria and Senegal followed the same procedures to contain the virus in their countries after importation.

How many countries have been affected by Ebola?

33 countries have historically been affected by Ebola with 7 countries currently affected by the disease including the United States. The US is the 6th country related to the West African outbreak and the 7th Country in 2014. The outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is considered unrelated.