And then there was #2. A few hours ago, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, announced that a health care worker who cared for dying Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, has tested positive for the virus after a preliminary test, officials said early Sunday. If confirmed, it would be the first known person-to-person transmission of the disease in the United States. The name of the patients is currently unknown, what is known however, is that the worker was “considered to be at low risk for contracting the virus” and the he or she was wearing full protective gear when treating Duncan, suggesting – yet again – that there is a transmission mechanism which is not accounted for under conventional protocol.
Confirmatory testing of the second case on U.S. soil will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services said.
The worker reported a fever late Friday and was isolated and referred for testing. “We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
Alas, until Friday night, said spread was once again completely uncontained if said worker was able to interact with countless others, who will become symptomatic only after they in turn have spread the disease to an unknown number of their own friends, acquaintances and co-workers.
The statement added that people who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged “will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.”
This announcement came hours after New York’s JFK Airport began an Ebola screening program, taking the temperatures of passengers arriving from three West African Countries.
The full statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services.