A press conference is set to start at 4:30 ET as I write this. There’s already been at least one case of transmission outside Africa, of course: The nurse in Spain caught the virus from a sick patient who’d been hospitalized in Madrid. If it’s confirmed that he knew Thomas Duncan, this would be the second case.
Where, you ask, did the authorities encounter this mystery man exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms? Why, at a local health clinic in Frisco, Texas. Unwitting patients and staffers who were inside the clinic with him are now being held and examined, all apparently because this guy didn’t think to call the CDC or the police from home and tell them what was going on.
The patient, dressed in shorts and wearing a surgical mask and a plastic head covering, just walked out of the facility and into the ambulance, which had been covered in plastic. That patient will likely transported to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Thomas Eric Duncan was hospitalized.
We are working to determine if this person is among the 48 people the Centers for Disease Control is monitoring. So far there has been no comment from the CDC, which already had a 3 p.m. press conference scheduled.
There are also conflicting reports concerning the patient. Frisco officials earlier said he claimed to have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, but Care Now says he told them he’d been to Africa.
Maybe not a case of transmission inside the U.S. then? If he did catch the bug from Duncan, I’m especially keen to know how. Assuming he’s not a family member who spent long hours with Duncan in his Dallas apartment after he arrived in the U.S., his contact with him was probably fairly limited and indirect. How do you catch Ebola under those circumstances?
According to Spanish press reports quoting the Spanish nurses’ union, Romero called Carlos III hospital several times between September 30 and October 2 when her fever finally hit the 38.6 threshold. Still, it took until October 6 when she had become so deathly ill she was begging for an Ebola test before anyone at the hospital where she worked reportedly reacted. Then, rather than immediately isolating her and rushing her to the special ward used to treat the previous Ebola patients, they told her to go to the nearby emergency room at Alcorcón, where press reports say she sat in the public waiting room for several hours absent of any protective gear. “I think I have Ebola,” she reportedly told anyone who would listen. But no one took notice until her first test came back positive. By then, dripping with fevered sweat, she would have been inarguably contagious.
Allegedly, she called her doctor on September 30th to tell him she was running a slight fever — and added that she had helped treat one of the missionaries who had died of Ebola just a week or two previously. The doctor told her to take some aspirin and keep in touch. She was out and about for days afterward, using public transportation and even taking a civil-service exam along with 20,000 other people. Another nurse who treated the missionary is now exhibiting a low-grade fever herself and has been quarantined. Says the Daily Beast, “It is highly likely that Romero will have infected at least one other person, probably her husband, because she was not isolated immediately.”
The CDC presser on the Frisco patient is starting soon. Stand by for updates. While we wait, via the Federalist, here’s a reminder that wanting to quarantine Ebola by temporarily blocking people from countries stricken by it from entering the U.S. is racist.
Update: The plot thickens.
NBC 5 has confirmed the person being transported to the hospital is an employee with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office who was in Duncan’s apartment.
So the mystery man did have contact with Duncan, perhaps indirectly. But he also traveled to Africa recently, per what the CareNow spokesman said above? Huh?
The 2nd patient who may or may not have contacted Ebola was not one of the 48 who was under surveillance
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 8, 2014
Update: Either the mystery man doesn’t have Ebola or else the disease is spread more easily than people think.
“We were told by federal officials, county officials that you would have to come in direct contact with Duncan or direct contact with bodily fluids, and he did not,” said Monnig’s son, Logan about the possibility of his dad contracting Ebola. Logan said it’s a very scary time for his family, but they do not expect that his dad will test positive for the virus…
“He was in the apartment for 30 minutes, which we were told is no chance to contact the virus,” said Logan.