First American Case of Ebola Diagnosed


A hospital in Texas has the dubious distinction of treating the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with Ebola. The patient, who is currently in intensive care and is critically ill, recently visited the African country of Liberia to visit family. There, the patient had been unknowingly exposed to the Ebola virus. As it can take several days for Ebola symptoms to appear, the patient had no inkling that on his return trip to his home in Texas that he would soon fall ill with the dreaded disease. Four days after his return, the patient began to have symptoms of the virus. However, with early symptoms of Ebola closely mirroring symptoms of the common cold or flu, the patient was initially believed to have some comparatively harmless infection and was prescribed antibiotics.

However, as antibiotics are not an effective treatment for Ebola, the man’s symptoms continued to worsen. Last Sunday, the patient had been admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. There, tests determined that he had been infected with the Ebola virus and immediately thereafter he was placed into isolation by hospital staff. Health officials have begun to backtrack the man’s movements and activities after his return to the United States in order to ensure that no other person has been infected with the virus. It is unlikely that any other person has been infected with the Ebola virus due to contact with the patient. The man only had contact with a limited number of people after he began to show symptoms of the virus. Persons infected with Ebola are not contagious until they begin to demonstrate symptoms, so those on the aircraft with the patient are very likely infection-free.

This single case should also not be a source of panic for those in the United States. While there have been many who have been concerned that there may be an Ebola outbreak within American borders, the case in Texas is unlikely to be a source of a large outbreak as he is receiving proper care and treatment. One of the reasons behind Ebola’s massive spread in West Africa were the limitations in local healthcare infrastructure, which prevents patients from being properly isolated. Additionally, healthcare workers do not have the necessary supplies to protect themselves from the virus. This is not the case at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where supplies are plentiful.

Patients and staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital appear to be taking the taking their recent fame, and its cause, in stride. While potential patients who had been told about the case by news crews outside the hospital expressed concern about a patient with Ebola being treated in the same institution, none chose to leave. Representatives from the Liberian-American community noted that many members had lost friends and relatives in Liberia to Ebola, and have thereby been deeply concerned with the disease and its spread. A representative claimed that they would be relieved if authorities released the identities of infected patients, so that they could take quarantine precautions themselves. As Ebola takes around 20 days to develop symptoms, health officials will be keeping a close eye on Dallas for the next month.


Related posts: