Updated 05:26 AM EST, Thu, Feb 25, 2021

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014 News & Update: Can Ebola Spread in the U.S.?

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The first Ebola virus case in the United States was confirmed by Texas officials on Wednesday. The man infected with the virus had recently flown to the U.S. from Liberia, where he likely contracted the virus. The victim originally went to a hospital on Friday but was only given antibiotics and sent home. He then returned on Sunday where he tested positive for the Ebola virus. All those who came in contact with the victim, including some small children, are being closely monitored for symptoms.  

Aside from the family members that he was visiting, authorities are unsure how many other people he came into contact with. "It is certainly possible someone who had contact with this individual could develop Ebola in the coming weeks," Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "I have no doubt we will stop this in its tracks in the United States."

In a press conference with reporters, Texas Governor Rick Perry confirmed that "Some school age children had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for signs of the disease. This case is serious. Rest assured that our system is working as it should. Professionals on every level of the chain of command know what to do to minimize this potential risk to the people of Texas and this country," Perry said.

Luckily for Texas, they are one of only 13 states certified by CDC to engage in diagnostic Ebola testing. Perry continued on with confidence that the Texas medical community is up to the task of dealing with the potential Ebola outbreak.  "We have the health care professional and the institutions that are second to none. The public should have every confidence that the highly trained professionals involved here will succeed in this very important mission," he said.

There are some inquires into the handling of the Ebola patient, which were brought on when the victim was initially sent home with nothing more than antibiotics. The victim's sister confirmed with the Associated Press that the doctors were aware that her brother had recently returned from a potentially Ebola-affected region.

Ebola symptoms usually surface in an individual anywhere from two days to three weeks. Currently the fatality rate for the virus is above 80 percent, which proves the severity of the threat. Ebola is transmitted from victim to victim by body fluids, which, among other things, can include blood and tears.

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