Breaking: CDC Confirms First US Ebola Case

September 30, 2014

Update 2:

-Timeline shows patient had symptoms for 3-4 days before being hospitalized. I’d put money there will be AT LEAST 1-2 more US Ebola patients! (Exposure period was September 23/24th – September 28th)

-CDC is explaining how they are tracing where the Ebola patient went, and putting family and community members who were exposed into isolation.

-My thoughts and prayers are with Dallas, and anyone who was in the waiting room with the Ebola patient, as well as anyone who ate at the same restaurant, etc.

Update, CDC Press Conference: 

-The CDC promises rapid containment of Ebola in the US

-Yes, family members (at the least) were exposed, and will be monitored over the next month for symptoms.

-Patient was in the US to visit family.

-Only 4 US Hospitals have full isolation units to handle Ebola, but CDC promises it’s been teaching guidelines to hospitals for months and they are all prepared.

-Handwashing is strongly encouraged, as it stops the spread of disease, including Ebola.

-We need to focus on transmission, because it’s easier to stop Ebola transmission (handwashing!) then to treat.

An unnamed person in Texas is the first US Ebola case (not counting aid workers who have been brought home for care).

Yesterday it was announced he was being kept in strict isolation based on his symptoms and travel history. Today, the CDC has confirmed that he does, in fact, have Ebola.

He’s being kept at Presbyterian Hospital in Texas, and the CDC will follow up with a press conference.

To be honest I’m shocked. Sure it’s seemed inevitable that the US would get Ebola—but the odds that it would happen right now were placed at only 20%. I kinda figured Europe would get the first outside-of-Africa case, and we’d have that extra warning.

The US has been testing sick people who’ve travelled to Ebola regions for months now—but this is the first confirmed Ebola patient.

On the one hand, we should be in good shape because of our better medical system; on the other, Ebola only needs small errors in order to spread, because it’s highly virulent. Our hospitals aren’t 100% up to the task—with medical waste disposal being problem number 1. A virulent germ can spread through an office building or hospital in as little as 2 hours without constant cleaning and handwashing.

What happens next? We’ll update when the CDC finishes its press conference. I’m wondering about how officials are handling backtracking the patient’s path through the US. How early did we catch him and his symptoms? Who else, where else has he been since they developed (blood red eyes are often the first warning)? How are we quarantining people who might be sick, but have a 21 day incubation period?

Texans—are you getting special announcements on your local news? What’s the local take on Presbyterian Hospital—is it up to the challenge?

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