The deadly Ebola epidemic has arrived the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first Ebola case was diagnosed in Texas. It has fueled fears that the worst ever Ebola outbreak that has killed over 3,000 people in West Africa can spread globally. The American patient was admitted at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
The patient had traveled to Liberia
The unnamed patient had traveled to Liberia. He arrived in Texas on September 20. The patient didn’t exhibit any symptoms until September 24. Meanwhile, he was staying with his family. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said the patient didn’t seek medical care until September 26. He was admitted and placed in the isolation room on September 28.
The patient was initially sent home from the hospital with antibiotics after seeking treatment for an unknown illness, reports Bloomberg
Frieden said in a statement that the patient didn’t show Ebola symptoms on his flight to the U.S. Note that infected patients cannot spread the disease until they start showing symptoms. Ebola virus’ incubation period is 2-21 days. That means infected people can travel undetected for up to 21 days. Most common symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, sore throat, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and weakness.
How does Ebola transmission takes place
Transmission of the Ebola virus occurs when someone comes in contact with body fluids such as sweat or blood of an infected person. Family and friends of Ebola patients and health care providers caring for such patients are at increased risk. Unlike flu or cold virus, Ebola cannot travel through air. However, Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN says that the virus could be transmitted when you shake the sweaty hand of an infected person, and you have a break in the skin of your hand.
The virus can survive for a few days in liquid outside an infected person or animal. But agents like soap, direct sunlight, heat, chlorine and detergents can kill it. The CDC and U.S. lawmakers have braced for the eventuality when an infected person arrives on the U.S. shores undetected. It would test the preparedness of the country’s healthcare system.
American hospitals have treated many patients diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa in the past few months. But they were all medical and aid workers who were diagnosed with the disease while still in African countries.