The Centers for Disease Control confirmed on Tuesday that the first case of Ebola virus has been diagnosed in the United States. The CDC has not specified the precise location of the patient, but current speculation is aimed at Dallas, TX. A press conference will be held at 4:30p.m. CST (3:30p.m. local time) to provide more information on this occurrence. HoundBytes will post updates as appropriate.
UPDATE: At 3:30p.m. local time Dr. Sanjay Gupta, prominent neurosurgeon and medical correspondent, spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Gupta confirmed that the U.S. Ebola patient is located in Dallas, TX; that the patient had visited Liberia, returning on Sept. 20; and that the patient fell ill several days after returning. Of the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., he said, “In the United States now the idea of this starting to spread, I think, is very unlikely.” Although Ebola in West Africa has a mortality rate approaching 50%, Dr. Gupta cited factors such as isolation, hospital care, and simple practices like fluid replacement and transfusion as key to a brighter outlook for the United States.
At 3:45p.m. local time Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, gave a brief press conference. He confirmed the details given by Dr. Gupta and went on to clarify that the patient became ill on Sept. 24, sought initial care on Sept. 26, and was admitted into isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 28. CDC lab tests verified Ebola infection on September 30th. Dr. Frieden outlined a threefold plan to care for the current patient, identify any others who may have been infected, and monitor those identified. The CDC director spoke firmly on the matter of a possible outbreak in the U.S., saying, “I have no doubt that we will control this importation — or this case — of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country… There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”
Both Frieden and Gupta made a point to specify that although there have been other cases of Ebola treated in the United States, this patient is the first to be diagnosed on U.S. soil. The World Health Organization currently reports 6,553 cases of the virus worldwide, more than 3,000 of which have resulted in death.
Story by Sara Krafft.