Guest post by Nathan Seppa
The first case of Ebola virus to be diagnosed in the United States was announced September 30 in Texas. In a press briefing, CDC director Tom Frieden said that a man flying on a commercial jet left Liberia in good health on September 19 and arrived in the United States the next day. On September 24, he began showing symptoms of illness, sought care two days later and on September 28 was placed in isolation in a Texas hospital.
The infected patient, who is still unnamed, is in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
CDC and Texas health personnel are tracing all contacts the man has had while symptomatic, including family members and a “handful” of people outside the family that he visited, Frieden said. He said that an individual does not spread Ebola until symptoms arise so there is no possibility that the ill man infected people on the flight with him. People are screened for fever before getting on outbound airplanes in affected African countries, Frieden said. Even when a person is symptomatic, Ebola is passed on by contact, not through the air.
This is the first case of the Ebola-Zaire form of the virus to appear outside of Africa, Frieden noted. He termed the man to be “critically ill” at the moment.