No Sign Ebola Has Spread in U.S., Officials Say

Oct 4, 2014 12:07 PM by NBC News

None of the people known to have been in close contact with a Dallas Ebola patient has a fever or any symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday. A Dallas hospital has been questioned about delays in treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who was initially sent home on Sept. 26 even though he felt sick and had told a nurse he recently arrived from his native Liberia.

"We've been very busy the last 24 hours trying to make sure that everyone who has had potential exposure is identified, and they have been evaluated," Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said that nine people had known contact with Duncan and that they were all well. About 40 or so other people may or may not have had contact, and they are being watched just to be safe. Duncan is in intensive care.

The 49 so people being monitored are being visited by health care workers and are having their temperatures checked twice a day, Lakey said.

Frieden said the CDC had seen a sharp increase in inquiries about possible cases of Ebola, but so far, none of the suspected patients had shown received they were taking a "hard look" at how to improve the safety around the arrival of travelers from countries affected by the West African Ebola epidemic. They said CDC staffers were staffing quarantine stations at major U.S. airports.

Duncan had returned to the hospital two days after he was sent home, later complaining of a fever and abdominal pain. Doctors diagnosed him with Ebola, the first such case on U.S. soil - triggering a massive government response. Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said Saturday that the handling of Duncan's case should be a lesson for hospitals and health care workers across the country, telling physicians: "You've got to ask that travel history and take it seriously."

Five Americans are known to have contracted the disease during visits to West Africa. While some of them have recovered, the latest victim - an NBC News freelance cameraman - is returning to the U.S. on Sunday for treatment in Nebraska.


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