Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Public Health press release re:First Case of Imported Ebola in U.S.

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] on September 30, 2014.  Based on travel history, it was determined that the person contracted the disease during a visit to Africa. Symptoms did not develop until five days after arriving in the United States. No symptoms were shown during the flight from West Africa. CDC does not recommend that people on the same flight undergo monitoring.  The patient is currently hospitalized and isolated in Dallas, Texas.  Local public health officials have started identifying the close contacts of the person for further daily monitoring for up to 21 days after a possible exposure.  

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West

Africa.  The outbreak in West Africa is worsening, but CDC, along with other U.S.

government agencies and international partners, is taking steps to respond. Ebola does

not pose a substantial risk to the U.S. general population.  No cases have been

reported in Calaveras County or California.

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Researchers believe that Ebola virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely source in the infected countries.

A person infected with Ebola virus is not contagious and cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear. Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces [stool], saliva, urine, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola. The virus in the blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also be spread through contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus.  Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or, in general, by food. 

“There is no vaccine for Ebola,” stated Dean Kelaita, County Health Officer.  “Recognizing the symptoms of Ebola early are important for providing medical care and preventing the spread of infection,” Kelaita continued.

Ebola symptoms include:

·         fever greater than 101.5°F and
·         severe headache
·         muscle pain
·         vomiting
·         diarrhea
·         stomach pain or
·         unexplained bleeding or bruising

To stop the spread of Ebola, cases are identified, ill people isolated and close contacts of ill persons are monitored and isolated if they develop symptoms.  In the past 10 years, the U.S. has had five imported Ebola cases. None of those cased resulted in transmission of the disease in the U.S.  CDC has alerted American healthcare workers about how to identify and isolate patients who may have Ebola and how they can protect themselves from infection.

For more information call Public Health at 754.6460 or visit our website at: