Health

U.S. Ebola Patient's Misdiagnosis Allowed Him To Come Into Contact With Others

| by Lisa Fogarty

A man who is the first in the United States to be diagnosed with the first case of Ebola was originally sent home from the hospital with antibiotics – allowing him to come into contact with others for two days before he was placed in isolation.

After traveling to Liberia, the patient reportedly returned to the U.S. on Sept. 20, where he visited friends and relatives, reports Daily Mail. He reportedly began experiencing symptoms on Sept. 24 and sought treatment two days later. But he was reportedly misdiagnosed and sent home.

Two days later, he was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where he was placed in isolation and given a blood test that came back positive for the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa. During the time in which he experienced symptoms but was not yet quarantined, he reportedly came into contact with a “handful” of people, according to Thomas Frieden, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is working to track down anyone and everyone the man was in contact with during that time, reports Bloomberg News. If any of those individuals begin to experience symptoms, they will immediately be placed in isolation.

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“There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here,” Frieden said.

Frieden says he isn’t concerned with the airline passengers the man traveled with on his flight home from Africa because he wasn’t experiencing symptoms at that time and he said Ebola doesn’t spread before someone feels sick.

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids. It is unclear how the patient, whose name has not been released, contracted the virus. He was reportedly not overseas working with Ebola patients.

The CDC and Texas medical experts are reportedly working together to decide whether experimental treatments should be used on the patient.

Sources: Daily Mail, Bloomberg News

Photo Credit: NIAID/Flickr, NIAID/Bloomberg News