Gov. Rick Perry (R) and other Texas officials provided an update Wednesday on the condition and status of the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, while saying they were optimistic the disease wouldn’t spread.
During the news conference, Perry told reporters a handful of school-aged children had contact with the man who was eventually diagnosed with Ebola. The patient was described as being in “serious but stable” condition and Perry said the children are being monitored at their homes for any symptoms associated with the disease.
“I know that parents are being extremely concerned about that development. But let me assure you these children have been identified, and they are being monitored,” Perry said. “And the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms. I have full confidence in the medical professionals.”
The Associated Press reports the man diagnosed with Ebola is Thomas Eric Duncan, who went to a Dallas emergency room on Friday and was sent home. Duncan returned to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he has been in isolation ever since. He had recently traveled back to the US from Liberia, something his sister said he told doctors about.
Other Texas health officials said in the press conference that between 12 and 18 people who may have come in contact with Duncan are being monitored for any signs of the disease.
Perry said the “system is working like it should” in response to the diagnosis. Dr. David Lakey, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health, said he was confident it would be contained.
“This is not West Africa,” Lakey said, referring to the continent on which the outbreak of the disease first began. “This is a very sophisticated city.”
Ebola spreads though contact with bodily fluids and cannot be spread through the air, which has given officials confidence it won’t spread in the US because of its far superior medical infrastructure to that of West African nations. The disease has already killed more than 3,000 people in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation.
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