Texas officials are said to be monitoring as many as 80 people for Ebola after Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with the disease in Dallas after allegedly contracting it in Liberia. Dallas County Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erikka Neroes told CNN that about 80 people in the area (Duncan’s contacts and people with whom they had contact) were being monitored for signs of Ebola. When we originally reportedabout the man contracting the deadly disease, it was said that there was a risk that it spread to five kids in Dallas. The BBC is now reporting that Duncan had contact with about 12-18 people. He is now in serious condition.
In a statement, Texas health officials said a “strict public health control order is needed to ensure compliance.” Duncan came to the U.S. almost two weeks ago to visit his family so four of Duncan’s family members have been quarantined and are not to receive visitors until October 19th. This order is said to help monitor the situation in a “meticulous” way. Ebola isn’t contagious until the symptoms appear and then it spreads through close contact and bodily fluids.
This is the stuff panic is made of. Close contact? Imagine the amount of people you come in contact with everyday, and then the people they come in contact with and the people they come in contact with and so forth. There’s no way possible the number of people in Duncan’s personal six degrees of separation stops at 80, especially when he’s traveled from Liberia
And then there is a patient in Hawaii who is said to be in isolation in Queen’s Medical Center and officials are thinking that an Ebola diagnosis is a possibility. According to reports, the Department of Health has confirmed the patient is in isolation and may be undergoing testing in Honolulu–it’s too early to tell. “We are early in the investigation of a patient — very, very early — who we’re investigating that might have Ebola,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy state epidemiologist. “It’s very possible that they do and they have Ebola. I think it’s also more likely that they have another condition that presents with similar symptoms.”
And then this case in Hawaii? Even though the person is being isolated as a precaution, you can’t help but break into a small panic thinking of the fear we’re going to face with every fever and every cough from anyone who’s traveled anywhere in the last year. Dr. Viray told KHON2, “What we’ve asked the hospitals to tell us about is anyone with a travel history, and anyone with a fever. And when those things come together, we’ve asked them to be very careful and in an abundance of caution while you’re working, for whatever else might be going on, also make sure you isolate against Ebola, just in case.”
While we don’t think there’s a need to build a panic room in your home, there is a need for some concern. We take solace in this” unless you have traveled to an area that was experiencing an outbreak (West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and possibly Texas), the risk of contracting Ebola is very low. To date, there have been over 7,000 cases of Ebola and over 3,000 deaths.
We’re keeping our eyes on this one. What do you think about Ebola spreading? Sound off in the comments below.