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Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola

world Updated: Oct 16, 2014 15:54 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

In a first case of transmission of Ebola in the United States, a Dallas, Texas health-care worker has tested positive for the virus, health authorities said on Sunday.

The worker was employed at the same Dallas hospital where a Liberian national died earlier this week of Ebola, which he had contracted on a recent visit to Liberia.

The Dallas health-care worker, who has become the second case of Ebola in the United States, is the first case of transmission of the virus on American soil.

The person caught the virus despite taking all necessary precautions. “This individual was following full CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) precautions,” a Texas health official told The New York Times.

“Gown, glove, mask and shield,” the official added.

Health authorities have put 48 people under observation for possible exposure to the virus through contact with the Liberian man, Duncan E Smith, including his family and friends.

There is now also concern for the safety of those battling the outbreak in the three west African nations hit the hardest — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Nearly 4,000 US troops and personnel from other nations are in various stages of deployment to help those countries deal with an outbreak that is now being compared to AIDS.

Smith, who became the first US Ebola case, contracted the virus while helping an effected person in Liberia. He arrived in the US on September 19, with no apparent symptoms.

He reported his symptoms first on September 24, but he was not tested for Ebola despite his travel history. When he finally went under treatment, it was too late.

Vigilance has been stepped up since.

Within hours of Smith’s death, US authorities announced screening of passengers from the three west African countries at five international airports, with interviews.