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Originally published October 3 2014

Dallas Ebola patient came into contact with at least five children before being admitted to hospital

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) At least five school-age children from four Dallas Independent School District schools may have come into direct contact with "patient zero," Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan from Liberia, according to new reports. All of the students had been attending school regularly until they were withdrawn earlier in the week and taken home for monitoring by county health officials.

Local ABC affiliate WFAA identified the four schools where the students had attended as Conrad High School, Tasby Middle School, Hotchkiss Elementary School and Dan D. Rogers Elementary School. District superintendent Mike Miles told reporters that each of the students had "possibly had contact with the patient," but none have exhibited any overt symptoms of Ebola at this point.

Each of the students is being individually monitored by Dallas County Health and Human Services (HHS), and each school location has been outfitted with at least one additional health employee whose job it will be to answer questions and ensure that the schools are cleaned and properly disinfected. At this point, Miles believes that the likelihood of more Ebola cases turning up at the schools is slim.

"[T]he odds of them passing on any sort of virus is very low," he told reporters.

Presbyterian Hospital says communication failure led to Duncan being sent home

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan had first tried to admit himself after suffering abdominal pain and low-grade fever, has been on a public relations blitz trying to save face after sending the patient home with useless antibiotics.

Speaking at a recent news conference, Dr. Mark Lester from Presbyterian Hospital tried to offer assurance that his employer's facility was prepared to deal with an Ebola case. When he was admitted, Duncan didn't exhibit any of the more serious signs of Ebola, claimed Dr. Lester, emphasizing that part of the problem was a communication failure.

"A checklist was in place for Ebola in this hospital for several weeks," stated Dr. Lester. "That checklist was utilized by the nurse, who did ask [the] question [if the patient had been to Africa]. Regretfully, that information [was not shared] with the full team. All the information wasn't present as they made their clinical decision."

Pockets of quarantine could soon emerge in Dallas

Besides the five students, Duncan reportedly came into contact with at least another half-dozen people prior to being pulled into isolation at Presbyterian Hospital. Health officials are scoping each of the locations where Duncan had been, including the Ivy Apartments complex in Dallas, to look for other potential cases.

In the meantime, the five students are being asked to stay home from school for three weeks while HHS staff monitor them for further symptoms. Officials were quick to denounce the exercise as a quarantine, but the way the situation is unfolding has all the markings of a possible quarantine in the future, at least in certain pockets of the city.

County health services officials told reporters that a possible second patient has already been identified and is under close monitoring. At the same time, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the public that there is "zero chance" that Duncan had spread Ebola during the time when he wasn't showing symptoms, which would have included while he was in transit from Liberia.

But the CDC says otherwise, having released simulation data showing the likelihood that Duncan had been infected by someone else during his travels, based on the average incubation time for infection. More about this CDC data is available here:


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