America has officially become the 7th country to be affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak after confirming that a suspected case in Dallas, Texas has tested positive. The Center for Disease Control dispatched an Ebola team earlier today and has already begun contact tracing and surveillance. This is the first case of Ebola to occur in the United States. Previously the USA has treated patients who had returned from affected African countries but they had transported in full isolation. The announcement today marks the first serious risk of an outbreak in the USA.
Nigeria and Senegal have recently both successfully contained similar outbreaks in their countries after visitors to and from the so called “hot zone” which includes Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone entered and returned to their nations. The virus has claimed more than 3000 lives this year already with a terrifying mortality rate of 70%. Many Scientists and Doctors have repeatedly warned that the disease could spread beyond Africa and called for a global response to the growing epidemic.
The case has resulted from a Doctor who had recently returned from a high risk zone where they had been volunteering. The patient showed no symptoms of Ebola upon returning the USA and immediately sought medical attention when they later developed minimizing the risk for transmission to the general public. The Doctor’s family and close friends will be placed under strict surveillance and isolated at the first sign of possible symptoms.
The USA is one of the most developed countries in the world with a well funded medical system and sufficient resources to successfully contain a potential Ebola outbreak. The first Ebola case in America will put the system to the test with every possible precaution being taken to prevent a full blown epidemic.
UPDATE: Multiple sources have confirmed the case now including CNBC, CNN & Bloomberg
UPDATE: CDC to hold a press conference at 17:30 ET