Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Hospital Sent the US's First Ebola Patient Home for Two Days After He Was Sick


The first case of Ebola has officially been diagnosed in the United States after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that an unnamed patient in Dallas has the disease. What now?

Well, as we've noted before, the disease is only spread through bodily fluids after someone presents actual Ebola, so we're not all doomed. But that doesn't mean this case is going to be the only one we see in the country. 

In fact, CDC director Thomas Frieden admits that the man, who is visiting American family members from Liberia, was sent home to his family's house from the hospital for two days after he was initially sick. Frieden also says the man was sick for a total of four days in Texas before he was ultimately admitted to the hospital on Sunday. That's not good.

In a press conference, Frieden said that "because the initial symptoms are nonspecific"—that is, they are similar to flu or fever—the patient was sent home for two days, when he could have theoretically infected others.

"We're trying to identify all the people who may have had contact with people while he could have been infectious," Frieden said. "Once identified, they'll be monitored for 21 days after for Ebola. If they have the fever, the same criteria are used."

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