First Ebola confirmed in U.S.

CDC vows to "stop it in its tracks"

October 1, 2014

"We’re stopping it in its tracks in the country"

—Thomas Frieden

Months after the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history began ravaging West African countries, a man who flew from Liberia to Dallas became the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States.

Although the director for the Center of Disease Control assured Americans the agency will swiftly nullify any threat of the Ebola virus spreading stateside, until they do, the CDC admits more U.S. infections are “not impossible.”

“We’re stopping it in its tracks in the country,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, declared during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The Dallas patient remains in “strict isolation” at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Officials said there are no plans to transfer him to a specialized hospital with a biocontainment unit at this time.

Officials would not confirm or deny if he was an American citizen, saying only he was “visiting family in the U.S.”

Although many more individuals were exposed to the unidentified patient as he flew from Africa back to Texas with a layover in Europe, Frieden says those people are not at risk as, although the patient was infected at that time, he was not contagious.

“That was four or five days before he had his first symptoms and with Ebola, you’re not contagious until you have symptoms.”

According to the CDC, the patient acquired the virus in West Africa, though they are not sure how he was infected. He was not involved in stopping the Ebola outbreak in Africa, where the disease has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

There were more than 6,500 reported cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as of Tuesday, and the crisis has been blamed for more than 3,000 deaths, according to the World health Organization. Ebola was first identified in 1976, and the current outbreak in West Africa is considered the largest and most complex in the history of the virus, with more cases and deaths than every other outbreak combined.

Until now, the only known cases of Ebola in the U.S. involved American doctors and aid workers who were infected and returned to the country for treatment. Once of them, Richard Sacra, was discharged last week from a Nebraska hospital. Days later, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda admitted an American physician who was exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. There were reports of possible Ebola patients in New York, California, New Mexico and Florida, but all of them tested negative for the virus.

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