Ebola has arrived in America. A patient in Texas has been diagnosed with the deadly disease, the CDC confirmed on Tuesday.
It is the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. That’s an important distinction because — unlike the medical workers who contracted Ebola in Africa and were flown back to the United States for treatment — the new Ebola patient could’ve been circulating in the general U.S. population, potentially spreading the disease.
From Last Week: Is Ebola Coming To America? Experts Ponder As Ebola Epidemic Rages In Africa
However, experts have stressed that Ebola does not transmit easily, but instead requires “intimate” contact with someone who’s infected. “Ebola poses no substantial risk to the U.S. general population,” CDC said earlier this month.
The U.S. patient diagnosed with Ebola is a man who was traveling in Liberia, and he started showing Ebola symptoms four days after returning. The man has been placed in “strict isolation,” according to a statement from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
In a briefing on Tuesday, CDC officials stressed that because the man was not symptomatic with Ebola while flying, there was “zero risk” of transmission for other passengers on the plane. They also vowed that public health officials “would stop [Ebola] in its tracks in the U.S.”
Outbreak Currently Raging In Africa the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is already the worst on record. And it’s only gotten worse.
More than 3,000 people have died, and CDC estimated that as many as 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone could contract Ebola by January 20. That’s about one in seven members of the population.
(For a sense of perspective on CDC’s worst-case scenario for West Africa: If a similarly sized outbreak happened in the United States, more than 45 million Americans would contract Ebola.)
Ebola has hit doctors and nurses especially hard: More than 200 health care workers have already died from the current Ebola outbreak in Africa. SEE MORE ON PAGE2