The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on American soil went to the emergency room last week, but was released from the hospital to return back home. The patient told one nurse he recently traveled from Liberia but that information was not distributed throughout medical staff. This situation where an infected Ebola patient is sent back home to further spread the deadly disease is creating loads of questions and worry. Here’s some background information about Ebola – a rapidly spreading infectious virus with a high fatality rate murdering millions.
A Dallas, Texas man by the name of Thomas Eric Duncan (right) became the first diagnosed Ebola case in the U.S. after he traveled to the U.S. from Liberia possibly aware he had been exposed to the disease that has taken over 8,000 lives worldwide.
Duncan traveled from Liberia to the United States, changing planes at the Brussels airport and at the Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C. area, before arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20. But it was not until four days later, on Sept. 24, that he began experiencing abdominal pain and a fever. He visited the hospital, was sent back home with antibiotics are treatment but later returned to the ER in an ambulance Sept. 28th.
Doctors at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital gave Duncan medical attention but diagnosed him incorrectly when they were unaware of his recent travels to Africa. “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” said Mark C. Lester, executive vice president of the health-care system that includes Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. “As a result, the full import of that information wasn’t factored into the clinical decision-making.”
Since Duncan was sent home, medical officials are concerned on how many people has Duncan possibly infected. According to reports, Duncan has been in contact with up to 100 people, including young children. Those people are being contacted, and treated with isolation to contain the Ebola virus from continuing to spread.
The Texas Ebola case is still underway. Duncan is currently being quarantined in the hospital and the CDC is hard at work to understand how to take handle of this Ebola epidemic. Below is important information on Ebola:
Facts: Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by one of five different Ebola viruses. Four of the strains can cause severe illness in humans and animals.
The first human outbreaks occurred in 1976, one in northern Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Central Africa: and the other, in southern Sudan.
Ebola is extremely infectious but not extremely contagious. It is infectious, because the smallest amount can cause illness. Ebola is considered could as ‘moderately contagious’ because the virus cannot be transmitted through the air compared to popular contagious diseases such as measles or influenza, virus particles which are airborne.
Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons.
Symptoms of Ebola typically include: weakness, fever, aches, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Additional experiences include rash, red eyes, chest pain, throat soreness, difficulty breathing or swallowing and bleeding (including internal). Symptoms on average appear 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, but the incubation period can span two to 21 days.
Deadly human Ebola outbreaks have been confirmed in the following countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of the Congo (ROC), Guinea and Liberia.
According to the World Health Organization, “there is no specific treatment or vaccine,” and the fatality rate can be up to 90%. Patients are given supportive care, which includes providing fluids and electrolytes and food and are quarantined until the disease has completely cleared the body.
Important facts to remember about Ebola:
– Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person (ex. urine, saliva, feces, blood.)
– If any symptoms occur (dizziness, fever, aches, diarrhea) contact your health official or/ report to the nearest hospital for medical attention or advice.
– Pay attention to the news!! New details are developing everyday.