Ebola Does Dallas

So it looks like the inevitable--based on the sheer size of the outbreak and travel patterns-- happened, an infected non-healthcare worker from Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas. While the details are sketchy at this point this case illustrates the extreme importance of asking a travel history in patients who may have been in Ebola-stricken areas. This patient departed Liberia on September 19 arrived in the US on September 20 and was not experiencing symptoms--and thus not contagious--until a few days later, on September 24. Interestingly, the patient first presented for care on September 26 but was not admitted to the hospital on September 28. 

This case, like any Ebola case, can be treated in an ordinary hospital and need not require a containment facility (as the four evacuated patients have been placed in). I, for one, hope that this case is taken care of in the "ordinary" setting of Texas Presbyterian Hospital to illustrate how non-contagious Ebola patients are when cared for using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Another thing to remember is that the US has adeptly handled imported cases of Lassa Fever and, Ebola family member, Marburg multiple times in the past. To quote CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden: "There is no doubt in my mind that we'll stop it here."

Ebola will not find the US as hospitable a place as Debbie did Dallas.