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CDC Warning: Ebola Virus Disease Confirmed in Traveler to Nigeria

Agency advises U.S. health care providers to be on the alert

Nigerian health authorities have confirmed a diagnosis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in a patient who died July 25 in a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, after traveling from Liberia. The report marks the first Ebola case in Nigeria linked to the current outbreak in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Health authorities also reported that two U.S. citizens working in a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, have confirmed Ebola virus infection.

While the possibility of infected persons entering the U.S. remains low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises health care providers in the U.S. to consider EVD in the differential diagnosis of febrile illness, with compatible symptoms, in any person with recent (within 21 days) travel history in the affected countries and to consider isolation of patients meeting these criteria, pending diagnostic testing.

EVD is characterized by the sudden onset of fever and malaise, accompanied by other nonspecific signs and symptoms, such as myalgia, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. Patients with severe forms of the disease may develop multi-organ dysfunction, including hepatic damage, renal failure, and central nervous system involvement, leading to shock and death.

In outbreak settings, Ebola virus is typically first spread to humans after contact with infected wildlife and is then spread person-to-person through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, sweat, semen, and breast milk. The incubation period is usually 8 to 10 days (rarely ranging from 2 to 21 days). Patients can transmit the virus while febrile and through later stages of the disease, as well as postmortem, when individuals contact the body during funeral preparations.

Of the two U.S. health care workers infected in Liberia, one is a physician who worked with Ebola patients in the hospital; he is symptomatic and in isolation. The other health care worker, a hygienist, developed fever but is showing no other signs of illness.

Source: CDC; July 28, 2014.

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