First Locally Transmitted Ebola Case in Dallas

First Locally Transmitted Ebola Case in Dallas
Photo by the Centers for Disease Control

In a disturbing turn of events, a woman in Dallas has become the first person in the United States to locally contract Ebola.

The woman is a healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The employee provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan after he came back to the hospital in late September. Duncan started showing Ebola-like symptoms shortly after he arrived in Dallas from Liberia, where Ebola is running rampant. Though he reportedly showed up at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital emergency room with a fever of 103 degrees, he was initially turned away when he was likely at his most infectious. He was hospitalized about two weeks ago and died last week of the disease.

The employee who provided care for Duncan after he was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation wore the gear prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control, a gown, gloves, mask and shield. The nurse reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was put in isolation while she was tested for Ebola.

On Saturday night, the preliminary result came in indicating she has the disease, according to the Department of State Health Services. However, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a news conference that the precautions didn't protect the nurse because of a "breach of protocol." She is currently in stable condition, according to the Associated Press.

In the face of the preliminary diagnosis, the woman's family, friends and contacts are being reviewed to keep track of anyone else who might have been exposed to the disease. This is still a preliminary diagnosis, so it's possible that she could end up just having the stomach flu at this point.

However, if it's determined the nurse has, in fact, contracted Ebola, this would be the second case of a healthcare worker outside of Africa contracting the disease. Last week a nurse in Madrid was found to have the disease after caring for a priest who'd been brought back from Africa. The woman in that case was also reportedly wearing the prescribed protective gear.

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