A passenger had Ebola-like symptoms aboard a jet from Texas to Florida — nevermind, not Ebola after all.
As predicted, the number of Ebola false alarms in the United States has skyrocketed since Thomas E. Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas on Sept. 30. In a briefing this weekend, the CDC said it’s been getting more than 800 calls a day from hospitals and other concerned parties, up from about 50 a day before Duncan’s diagnosis.
None of those thousands of calls have turned out to be Ebola.
One factor that’s helped fuel the spike in false reports is that Ebola’s early symptoms are quite general, like fever and vomiting. However, when it’s really Ebola, those symptoms quickly worsen and can turn into more visible afflictions, like bleeding from the eyes or a major rash.
If Duncan infected anyone else in Dallas with Ebola, we’ll likely find out within the next week.
As of Wednesday Oct. 8:
It’s been 14 days since Duncan began showing symptoms of Ebola on Sept. 24, which meant he was contagious.
And it’s been 10 days since Duncan was admitted to Texas Health on Sept. 28, whereupon he was isolated.
People infected with Ebola usually start showing symptoms between eight and 10 days after exposure, although the disease can incubate for up to 21 days.
So far, none of the 48 Dallas residents who had contact with Duncan while he was symptomatic have shown signs of Ebola, Texas officials said on Tuesday. However, officials continue to keep close watch on all of Duncan’s contacts, with special monitoring of 10 individuals at high risk, Bill Hannawrites in the Star-Telegram.
“Honestly, this is a very critical week,” said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “A lot of monitoring has to take place.”
Oct. 8 update: Duncan has died from Ebola, Texas Health Resources reported.
While the U.S. has generally remained Ebola-free, the disease remains a major problem in West Africa.
Ebola’s also expected to keep spreading beyond Africa. A senior World Health Organization leader this week said that Ebola in Europe was “unavoidable.”
Several Ebola patients have been brought to the United States for treatment, including a NBC cameraman who contracted Ebola last week.
Atlanta’s Emory Healthcare already has seen three Ebola patients. The first two of those Ebola patients, who received the Ebola-fighting ZMapp cocktail, were quickly treated and discharged; there’s been no word on Emory’s third patient, who was admitted about a month ago and didn’t receive ZMapp.
Some experts are increasingly worried that the longer the Ebola outbreak goes on, the more likely it is that the disase could mutate and eventually go airborne. (JUST LIKE THE MOVIE "OUTBREAK")
Dr. Philip K. Russell, a virologist who oversaw Ebola research while heading the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, told the Los Angeles Times that “there are too many unknowns here.”
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT EBOLA?