Originally published October 24 2014
CDC now monitoring 125 potential Ebola cases in Dallas
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) With a second confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas, besides "patient zero," health officials are now monitoring 118 people believed to have had either definite or possible exposure to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 11 people who it says had definite contact with Duncan, as well as 107 others who may have had contact. Duncan, who died of Ebola on October 8, somehow infected nurse Nina Pham as well as another health worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was treated.
So far, none of these 118 possible Ebola cases is showing symptoms. According to reports, only 48 of them were believed to have had contact with Duncan prior to September 28 when he was first admitted to the hospital, which means there is still a lot more time that needs to pass before the incubation period for everyone has expired.
76 additional hospital workers being monitored for Ebola Besides these initial 48 contacts, an additional 75 workers from the hospital, plus one individual who had contact with nurse Nina Pham, are also being monitored for Ebola, according to The New York Times (NYT). Each of the 75 individuals had assisted in Duncan's treatments, or had come into direct contact with someone else who did.
Note: The CDC is reporting 118 total people being monitored, while some media reports are reporting 125. The official count, per the CDC as of October 15, is 118, and three confirmed, for a combined total of 121.
The CDC recently updated its list of possible contacts after a second worker at Texas Health was found to have Ebola. Between this individual's contacts and those of Pham, who is reportedly doing well with an experimental treatment, the list of possible Ebola patients continues to rise.
"The number of possible contacts increased significantly Oct. 14 to account for a group of healthcare workers who were previously self-monitoring and are now being actively monitored following a healthcare worker's Ebola diagnosis over the weekend," reports the CDC.
"Another case was diagnosed Oct. 15, which also impacted the numbers."
Five percent of Ebola cases don't start showing symptoms until after 42 days One of the major flaws in the CDC's monitoring approach involves its incubation period. According to the agency, if a possible Ebola case doesn't show any symptoms after three weeks, then he or she can be declared not to have Ebola.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report contradicting this, indicating that only 95 percent of Ebola patients start to show symptoms within the 21-day incubation period. As many as 5 percent show symptoms after this period, while 2 percent can show symptoms even after 42 days.
Because of this, it is unclear precisely how many people might be harboring the disease without exhibiting symptoms, only to spread the disease at some later date once they eventually emerge. The CDC has yet to address this issue, but it is one to which the public deserves an honest answer.
Dallas County officials consider declaring state of emergency due to Ebola Meanwhile, Dallas County leaders were readying to petition for a state disaster declaration due to Ebola. Fox News reports that county commissioners met on Thursday to request additional state funding and resources to deal with the epidemic but failed to take any action.
The name of the second nurse who contracted Ebola has also been released as 29-year-old Amber Vinson. Reports indicate that Vinson had "extensive contact" with Duncan before he suffered a horrific death, after which he was cremated.
"The cost to the county for the first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was more than $1 million," explains MyFoxDFW.com. "Two of his nurses have since been diagnosed in Dallas."
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