Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ebola Patients Had Possible Contact With 300 in U.S.

Ebola Patients Had Possible Contact With 300 in U.S.

October 20, 2014

First responders wear full biohazard suits while responding to the report of a woman with Ebola-like symptoms at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit White Rock Station October 18, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
More than 300 people have had possible or verified contact with Ebola patients in the U.S., according to data released by health authorities yesterday.
The new numbers were issued as the top public official co-ordinating the response to the deadly virus in Dallas said 48 of the original contacts with deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan were cleared of risk for the disease over the weekend or were expected to be cleared today. Duncan’s girlfriend Louise Troh and three people in her Texas household are scheduled to come out of a 21-day quarantine today, barring any last-minute appearance of symptoms.
“Big day today,” Judge Clay Jenkins, the highest elected official in Dallas County, said yesterday evening. “It marks a day on the curve where we begin to see a decline.”
Numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, covering Texas, and from the Ohio Department of Health showed there are still many under monitoring for possible Ebola symptoms. The potential Ohio exposures to Ebola stem from a trip from Dallas to Ohio by Amber Joy Vinson, a nurse who contracted the disease from Duncan.
Ohio issued travel-restriction recommendations for residents who had contact with Vinson to limit the risk of spreading the disease. Counties that include Cleveland and Akron have begun notifying affected residents of the restrictions, said Scott Milburn, a spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Travel Restrictions

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital came under Congressional criticism in hearings last week for its handling of Ebola patients. In a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News yesterday, the Dallas hospital apologized for failing to diagnose Duncan’s symptoms when he first showed up at the emergency room. In its defense, the hospital has said it followed CDC safety procedures.
The protocols used to treat Ebola patients in Dallas were inappropriate, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in talk shows yesterday. The guidelines were based on field experience in Africa unsuited for more-invasive treatments used in U.S. hospitals.
A Dallas nurse infected with the deadly virus after treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan may have contracted the disease because her equipment left some of her skin exposed, Fauci said on the “Fox News Sunday” program today.
Nina Pham, the nurse who was transferred from Dallas to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (127456MF:US) in Bethesda, Maryland, where Fauci works, is “doing well,” Fauci said.
“She can walk now,” said Father Jim Khoi after Mass yesterday at Our Lady of Fatima, in Fort Worth, Texas, the church Pham attends. “She’s really brave.”

Sign of Peace

At the Vietnamese-language, hour-long service, Khoi led the congregation in prayers for Pham and everyone afflicted with Ebola. When it came time for the sign of peace, worshipers turned to each other and nodded instead of shaking hands, in keeping with an Oct. 14 directive from the Catholic diocese -- because of flu season, Khoi said.
Officials from the CDC in Atlanta have said the release of new infection-control guidelines for U.S. health-care workers is imminent.
In addition to Duncan and the nurses, 166 people linked to the Texas outbreak have been in contact or possible contact with Ebola, CDC numbers released yesterday showed. Of these, 149 were listed as current cases in a chart.

Critical Weekend

Only seven were listed as contacts with Ebola patients, with 142 possible contacts. The number of possible contacts “increased significantly” on Oct. 14 to account for a group of health care workers who were previously self-monitoring for symptoms and are “now being actively monitored,” the CDC said.
Jenkins said this weekend was a “critical” one for some of those who had direct contact with Duncan, because they were in the period when they were most likely to develop symptoms of the disease.
Ohio officials have reached 153 people who may have had some contact with Vinson on one of the flights or at an Akron bridal shop that she visited on Oct. 11, according to a release from the health department.
Of that number, three are in quarantine, while 22 are being actively monitored and are being told they can’t leave their home county unless the health department where they are going assumes monitoring, according to guidelines released by the state.

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