It was announced today that a second healthcare worker in Texas has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. This worker provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan, who passed away recently from the same virus. Just yesterday, the worker reported having a fever, at which time isolation was mandated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
As with other cases of the Ebola virus, health officials are scrambling to identify everything who this healthcare worker might have had contact with, dating back to the time of caring for Duncan. Once everyone has been identified, they will be closely monitored for any signs of being infected.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a press briefing this morning that areas around the patient’s apartment complex, as well as inside the building are being disinfected by the city’s fire department. He also stated that all neighbors of the victim, who is single and has no pets, have been notified.
Rawlings stressed that the only way the Ebola virus would be beat is by dealing with it person-by-person, moment-by-moment, and detail-by-detail. He also said it is possible that more outbreaks will be reported but that eventually, things will get better.
This second Texas healthcare worker was among 100 medical professionals to include doctors, nurses, and assistants involved with the 10-day care of Duncan at Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan himself was diagnosed just three days after a Liberian nurse named Nina Pham, who cared for Duncan, was diagnosed.
Thankfully, Pham released a statement yesterday saying she is doing really well and that she appreciates all the prayers and well-wishes.
Everyone had initially hoped that the Ebola virus would never hit US soil but it has and in addition to the reported cases in Texas, there have been incidents reported in other states. While not yet confirmed, there is one individual currently at the University of Kansas hospital in Kansas City who has shown signs of the disease.
In West Africa, approximately 4,450 people have succumbed to the Ebola virus, the worst outbreak in history. Once infected, an individual will develop a fever, begin vomiting, have chronic diarrhea, and start bleeding. However, prior to the onset of a fever, infected people are not contagious.
One of the biggest challenges in keeping the Ebola virus contained is the way it is spread. In addition to being spread through direct contact with bodily fluids like semen, blood, sweat, and saliva, contamination is possible from exposed objects such as needles.