Ebola Hits the US

Dr. Michael Schlitt ebola

A group of workers in West Africa dealing with an Ebola victim.

There has been a lot of talk about the spread of Ebola in West Africa, but most of this seems to have been restricted to Africa.  That is, until now.  The first case of Ebola has just been diagnosed by a person in the US, who had traveled between Liberia and Dallas, TX.  Although this patient didn’t display any symptoms upon leaving West Africa, symptoms revealed themselves 4 days after landing in Texas.  On September 26, two days after falling ill, the patient visited Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.  Because of the patient’s recent trip to Liberia and symptoms, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that they be isolated and tested for Ebola.

Thankfully, the CDC does know how to stop the further spread of Ebola, so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.  Close contacts of the patients are currently under daily monitoring for 21 days following exposure.  Yesterday, Congressman Dr. Michael C Burgess of the North Texas Congressional district issued a statement that “the inevitable” had occurred.  While Ebola is pretty scary to think about, the US is significantly better equipped for disease control than West Africa, and therefore experts don’t believe that Ebola in the US won’t be on nearly the same scale that it was across the ocean.  Of course, it’s not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with the Texan patient, but the CDC is confident that they can contain this infection.

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, and can’t be spread through casual contact or through the air.  Therefore, the CDC recommends that exposed people should be monitored for symptoms for 3 weeks.  Experts had previously concluded that Ebola would eventually make its way to the US, but experts insist that the US’ capacity to test and treat Ebola patients is excellent, and they don’t expect any “real transmission” in the US.  According to the CDC, the American public health and medical systems had previously been successful at containing similar outbreaks, pointing to five imported cases of viral hemorrhagic fever diseases similar to Ebola over the past 10 years that the US had contained without any transmission.