A second case of the Ebola virus has been diagnosed on American soil. A health care worker who cared for Eboli patient Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas hospital has now tested positive for the virus.
In a statement issued Sunday evening by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said "The health care worker, who provided care for the Dallas index patient, was isolated soon after symptoms started and remains so now." This is the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission known to have occurred in the U.S The director of the CDC, said officials at the agency are “deeply concerned” about this new Ebola case because she was infected when all workers had been trained to take full precautions against the transmission of the virus. When the infected healthcare worker was subsequently interviewed she could not identify what “breach in precaution” had occurred in order for her to become infected.
The virus can take up to 21 days to show sign of infection, once exposed and the original contacts of Duncan still have a week to go before they reach the end of their 21 day monitoring period. But this latest victim is not one of the original contacts of Duncan. She cared for Duncan when he was actually admitted to the hospital and before he died.
The CDC is recommending that the healthcare workers who care for Ebola patients be kept to a minimum until they identify the source of the exposure which occurred with this second Ebola patient, who tested positive Saturday, after she developed “flu like symptoms.” It is alarming that all healthcare workers are using isolation precautions (wearing gowns, gloves and masks,) when caring for these patients, but someone still became infected.
Although airports are now screening for the virus, this won’t contain the spread, because many who are infected do take up to 21 days to show signs and may seem perfectly healthy when boarding a plane.
This patient is currently in in stable condition, according to a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Neighbors of the patient reported seeing a hazardous material truck at the patient’s eight-unit apartment building on Marquita Avenue and handed out informational sheets on Ebola to other residents. 18 people who were in contact with this healthcare worker are now being monitored and one has been put into isolation
In West Africa, where more than 8,000 people have become infected, half have died.
What are your thoughts on this second Ebola patient? Should we be allowing people from West Africa to board planes to the U.S? Should we allow Americans who have contracted the virus while working in West Africa to be flown back to the U.S for treatment? Tell us your thoughts!