Ebola: First case of deadly virus diagnosed in US

The unnamed man is thought to have been infected in West Africa where the disease has killed over 3,000 people

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The Independent US

A patient has been diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus on US soil for the first time, according to federal health officials in Texas. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case on Tuesday afternoon, a day after the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas announced that it was testing a patient for Ebola.

The unnamed man is thought to have been infected in Liberia before travelling to the US, where he first exhibited symptoms of the virus a few days later. He is being kept in isolation. Several American doctors and aid workers who were infected while tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa have recently returned home to be treated at US hospitals.

The first was Fort Worth physician Dr Kent Brantly, who became infected while working in Liberia, and recovered after being moved to a hospital in Atlanta. President Barack Obama said last month that the US would offer military and medical help to combat the disease. In what is the world’s worst ever outbreak of the virus, the World Health Organisation estimates that Ebola has killed 3,091 people and infected more than 6,500 since a two-year-old boy became the first to die in Guinea last December. The virus then spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. A single case was confirmed in Senegal in August, though the infected patient survived.

CDC officials announced on Tuesday that the virus has now been successfully contained in Nigeria, where eight people have died of Ebola since July. Thanks to its quick, efficient response to the outbreak, Nigeria has a cure rate of 60 per cent, with 11 of its 19 confirmed Ebola patients surviving. There have been no new cases in the country since 5 September.

 

Twelve other people in the US have been tested for Ebola in recent months, but each tested negative. Health officials in Texas have said the chances of an outbreak of the virus in Dallas are extremely slim. Dr Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, said at a press conference on Tuesday evening, “I have no doubt that we will control this importation of this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country.”

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