What Does the Second Ebola Case Mean for the US?

CDC confirmed that the first case of Ebola has been diagnosed on September 30th in a person who was travelling to Dallas, Texas in the United States from West Africa. The victim developed symptoms only 4 hours after arriving in the US. The patient was hospitalized in Texas Presbyterian Hospital, isolated and tested for Ebola. Shortly after this, on October 10th, a nurse at the same hospital reported a fever and was tested positive for Ebola.

An additional health care worker testing positive for Ebola is a serious concern, and the C.D.C. has already taken active steps to minimize the risk to health care workers and the patient,” the agency said in a statement.

A new conference to address the problem is planned at 7 am on Wednesday in downtown Dallas. Additionally, crews in hazardous-material suits thoroughly cleaned the areas where both victims resided. While the original Ebola victim, Mr. Duncan, died last Wednesday, the nurse who also became infected is said to be in good condition. Officials have not yet determined how the nurse got Ebola, but it is believed that she may have violated safety regulations when removing her gear.

Two active Ebola cases in a short period of time in the US raises concerns, and many healthcare professionals are preparing to respond. The head of the CDC also acknowledged that they should have put a more robust team of experts on the ground during its initial response and should have overseen the hospital more carefully. The current fatality rate in West Africa has also reached 70 percent – a shocking amount. Although risks have been minimized, fear of Ebola is rising and consequently the amount of travel is falling as well. Cruise ships are said to be the most vulnerable of the travel and leisure cohort.

We have a large outbreak of anxiety and it is as real as the Ebola threat,’’ said William Schaffner, a national infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. “The chances of getting Ebola are very small, but the public does not see it that way.”

Unlike many other diseases, Ebola cannot be spread through the air or water. Instead, people need to have direct physical contact or bodily fluids contact with someone who is already ill. People are not contagious until they begin to show symptoms. Because fear quickly turns into panic, it is important to remain calm about this issue and make informed decisions if you know you may have a possibility of being exposed to the disease.

Precaution measures have been and are continuing to be implemented. Dulles, Newark, Atlanta and O’Hare airports are also expected to start screening passengers traveling from countries at risk for Ebola in order to control the spread of the disease. Kennedy International Airport has already started to screen passengers. People flying from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are being screened before boarding the plane as well. Anyone with suspected Ebola will be taken to the hospital immediately.

Read more here – “Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Worker,” (Manny Fernandez, New York Times).

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Anna is a current student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a concentration in Marketing and Communication. She specializes in social media outreach and has experience working in government contracting.

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