Dallas health worker is first to catch Ebola in U.S.

Guest post by Lila Guterman

A female health care worker in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola, officials announced Sunday. The health care worker is the first to have caught the virus in the United States. She had cared for the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the country. He had contracted the virus in Liberia and then traveled to Texas in September. He died October 8.

The health care worker has had mild symptoms so far and is in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. A “thorough investigation” will take place to understand how the health care worker caught the virus, said Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He noted that the test identifying Ebola in the woman was a preliminary one and would be confirmed later Sunday. Experts are also expanding efforts to identify and monitor people who had contact with either patient, he said.

“It’s deeply concerning that this infection occurred and our thoughts are with the health care worker who was providing care and appears to have become infected,” Frieden said. “That doesn’t change the bottom line. We know how to break the chains of transmission.”

Editor’s Note: Sunday afternoon, CDC confirmed that the health care worker’s illness was caused by the Ebola virus. A second health care worker at the hospital was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday, October 15.

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