Texas Ebola victim may have infected another person
The Texas man who is the first confirmed Ebola victim in the US came in contact with several children before he was hospitalized — and may have spread the disease to at least one other person, health officials said Wednesday.
A person believed to have had direct contact with the patient has been singled out by the Dallas Health Department as a major risk for being infected with the deadly virus, WFAA Dallas reports.
The patient also met with numerous children before he was hospitalized — but his relationship to them has not been disclosed.
The Dallas County school district says it will be working directly with the health department to try to isolate anyone who may have been infected.
“They are consulting with the county on any additional action that may need to be taken during the course of investigation,” said Jon Dahlander, a spokesman with the district.
“This is part of routine emergency operations during a health incident in the county. This is the same protocol taken during things like flu and tuberculosis cases.”
Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson says officials are closely monitoring all those who’ve come in contact with the confirmed Ebola victim, but he made it clear that another potential case now exists and should be taken seriously.
“Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents, the fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient,” Thompson told WFAA. “So this is real.”
Little is known about the person with the first confirmed US case of Ebola. The patient departed on a flight out of Liberia on Sept. 19 and touched down in Dallas to visit some relatives in the area, according to WFAA.
He sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Friday when he started noticing he felt sick, but staff were unable to diagnose his illness as Ebola and sent the unidentified man home with some antibiotics. After two days, his symptoms worsened and he was taken by ambulance back to the hospital — where he would eventually become the first reported case of Ebola since the outbreak began ravaging West Africa this year.