Mingled with other people for days before being diagnosed



The patient who is critically ill with the Ebola virus in a Dallas hospital was initially sent home with anti-biotics before being diagnosed, it has been revealed. The man was also around other people in Texas for days before being isolated and quarantined.

The Associated Press reports that the man, who traveled from Liberia to Dallas on September 20th, was dismissed from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on the 26th after seeking care. He was evaluated and given a prescription for antibiotics, with hospital workers believing he had some other ailment.

Scott Gordon, a reporter for KXAS, tweeted ‘Hospital reviewing why patient wasn’t properly diagnosed on Friday when he was evaluated and sent home. Dismissed with antibiotics.’

The man was not re-admitted to the hospital until two days later on the 28th September, raising the risk that he was potentially spreading the Ebola virus around family members and friends for 48 hours when the virus was at its most infectious.

The man is now in strict isolation, with blood tests by Texas health officials and the CDC separately confirming he has Ebola.

When asked how many people the patient may have come into contact with, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, ‘I think a handful is the right characterization.’

Texas health officials are in the process of tracking down those who may have come into close contact with the patient. When located, those people will be monitored for 21 days after exposure, to see if they develop symptoms.

“If they develop fever then those same criteria are used to isolate them and make sure that they are cared for as well as possible, so that they maximize their chances [for recovery] and to minimize or eliminate the chance that they would infect other people.” Frieden said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a statement that noted “We have quarantined both [the ambulance crew that took the patient to the hospital] and the unit itself to make sure that nothing was there that can be spread.”

“First and foremost, we gotta have our thoughts and prayers for this man, who is very sick and hopefully he’ll get well. But we’re gonna sure everybody else is safe at the same time.” Rawlings added.

‘The bottom line here is that I have no doubt we will control this importation, or this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country,’ Frieden said at a press conference.

“It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks,” he added. “But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”