WASHINGTON (WJZ)—As health officials in Dallas, TX scramble to get a handle on the ebola scare there, concerns about the deadly virus hit much closer to home.
Derek Valcourt has the details on the local cases and the ongoing efforts to fight the disease here and abroad.
Important to stress none of the people being treated locally are confirmed to have ebola– but given the serious nature of the disease health officials are taking any chances.
Hazmat crews spent hours at the Texas apartment complex disposing of contaminated items, including bed sheets, towels and even mattresses used by the first patient diagnosed with ebola in the United States: Thomas Eric Duncan, who remains in isolation at a Texas hospital.
Four family members in that apartment were relocated to be quarantined in a private home.
U.S. health officials acknowledge the growing public concern.
“But we have the public health systems and the public health providers to contain the spread of this disease,” said Sylvia Burwell, secretary of Health and Human Services.
Now Washington, D.C.’s Howard University Hospital is treating one man in isolation after he presented symptoms that could be associated with ebola and reported recently spending time in Nigeria, where ebola cases have been confirmed but not widespread.
The hospital says it activated appropriate infection control protocols.
Officials here at Howard University Hospital would only say that the patient is in stable condition and declined to release any more details about his identity, citing patient privacy and confidentiality.
A second patient at Shady Grove Hospital in Rockville has a travel history matching the criteria for ebola, but lab reports indicate the patient has another illness.
The hospital released the following statement Friday night:
“Following further tests, monitoring and consultations with infectious disease experts, our medical team has determined that the patient in our care has malaria and does not have Ebola. We appreciate the excellent work of our clinical team including physicians, nurses and staff, in handling the care of this patient. We also appreciate the partnership of county, state and federal agencies on this case.”
A doctor exposed to ebola in Sierra Leone is now isolated at National Institutes of Health headquarters in Bethesda.
“We are working very aggressively and energetically to develop a vaccine to prevent ebola and therapeutics to treat it,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH director.
A United States cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia is also now diagnosed with the virus. A private jet is expected to fly him to Nebraska for special treatment this weekend.
The United States is now doubling the number of army soldiers they are sending to West Africa in an ongoing effort to help the countries there fight and contain the rapidly spreading disease.
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