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Originally published October 5 2014

Number of suspected Ebola victims being monitored in Texas rises to 100

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States may have exposed between 80 and 100 other people to the disease before being hospitalized, public health officials have announced.

When the Dallas man went to a hospital seeking treatment, he was sent home even though he told hospital staff that he had recently traveled from Liberia. Before being quarantined three days later, he had direct contact with between 12 and 18 people, health officials said. Of those, four are close family members who have also been quarantined.

Adding in everyone that those 12 to 18 people had contact with brings the number of people potentially exposed to Ebola up to more than 80, Dallas County officials said. Officials from the Texas health department placed the estimate even higher.

"We are working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts," department spokesperson Carrie Williams said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we're starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient's home. The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection."

Failure of screening systems

So far, more than 3,300 people have died in the ongoing West Africa Ebola epidemic, the worst outbreak of the disease in history. Ebola is a viral disease transmitted via close contact with bodily fluids like blood, vomit and diarrhea. It can take symptoms as long as three weeks to develop, although patients are said not to be contagious until that time.

Ebola symptoms include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding. The disease kills between 50 and 90 percent of those infected.

The U.S. Ebola patient is believed to have contracted the disease in Liberia, when he accompanied a sick, pregnant woman in search of treatment. He arrived in the United States on September 20; on September 25, he sought treatment for Ebola-like symptoms at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Although he told a nurse there that he had recently arrived from Liberia, that information was not shared with other members of the health team. He was prescribed useless antibiotics and sent home.

Three days later, he returned to the same hospital in an ambulance and was finally diagnosed.

The Liberian government has announced plans to prosecute him for supplying false answers on an airport questionnaire. When leaving Liberia on September 19, the man answered "no" to all questions on the form, including whether he had cared for any Ebola patients.

"We expect people to do the honorable thing," said Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority in Monrovia.

Wake-up call

Although no one else in Dallas has shown any symptoms of Ebola, four of the patient's close relatives have been quarantined as a safety precaution. They can be arrested if they have visitors or leave their homes without permission before October 20.

"We have tried-and-true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease," said Texas Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey. "The order is in place until the incubation period has passed and the family is no longer at risk of having the disease."

Public health officials have urged healthcare workers to learn from the mistakes made in the Dallas case.

"This will certainly serve for the rest of a country as a cogent lesson learned," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In an unrelated case, a hospital patient has been quarantined in Honolulu, Hawaii, due to the "heightened sense of awareness of Ebola."

"At this time, the patient's history and clinical presentation do not appear to be consistent with Ebola," a statement from the hospital said.

To learn more about how to prepare for a potential Ebola crisis here in the U.S., be sure to check out the Natural News resource:


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