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Second Ebola Case Reported in Texas
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed test results reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ public health laboratory showing that a health care worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital is positive for Ebola. The worker, who provided care for the Dallas index patient, was isolated soon after symptoms started and remains so now.
On Friday, October 10, the health care worker reported a low-grade fever overnight and was referred for testing. The worker had been self-monitoring for fever and symptoms. As a precaution, after identification of fever, the worker was isolated, and CDC staff interviewed the patient to determine additional contacts or potential exposures. At this time, one close contact has been identified and is being monitored.
The hospital and the patient were notified of the preliminary and confirmatory test results. Treatment decisions will be made by the patient and the hospital.
The CDC acknowledged that this new development is understandably disturbing news for the patient, the patient’s family, and colleagues and the greater Dallas community. The agency and the Texas Department of State Health Services have announced their confidence that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures, including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with the index patient, and immediate isolation if symptoms develop.
The CDC said that careful monitoring of all health care workers who had interaction with the index patient and this second patient is warranted, including those who cared for the index patient between the time he was isolated in the hospital September 28 through the time of his death on October 8, and they will now be considered patient contacts for follow-up monitoring.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids of a sick person or with the remains of someone who has died of Ebola, or through exposure to objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated. The illness has an average 8- to 10-day incubation period (although it could be from 2 to 21 days), and therefore CDC recommends monitoring exposed people for symptoms for a complete 21 days. People are not contagious before symptoms, such as fever, develop.