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[Above: Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles. Courtesy: Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine.]
The killer virus Ebola may not be front and center in the news, but it’s still in the forefront of efforts by health officials nationwide. As of today, more than 1,400 people in 44 states in the U.S. are being actively monitored by state and local health departments after returning from West Africa. The good news is that no new cases have been reported in the U.S. since Oct. 23.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, which provided the figure,
“They are being monitored because they came from one of the four countries with ongoing Ebola outbreaks.”
Responding to a public outcry, the Department of Homeland Security began, on Oct. 22, requiring all U.S. bound passengers from the primary Ebola-infected West African nations to arrive at one of five U.S. airports with enhanced screening.
To date, ten people have been treated for Ebola in the U.S. since late September.
Patients with Ebola Brought to U.S.
A total of six people have been brought to the U.S. after contracting Ebola in West Africa: five healthcare workers and one photojournalist. The photojournalist is 33-year old Ashoka Mukpo. All but one survived. Dr. Martin Salia, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., was already critically ill when he arrived from Sierra Leone for treatment at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He died just a few days later on Nov. 17. Officials say they don’t know exactly how he contracted the virus.
Ebola Cases Diagnosed in the U.S.
A total of four people have been diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. since Sept. 30. All of them recovered except one.
September 30, 2014 – CDC confirmed the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in Thomas Eric Duncan who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia. Local public health officials identified all of Duncan’s close contacts for daily monitoring for 21 days after exposure. Duncan died on Oct. 8. By Nov. 7, all of his close contacts had completed the 21-day monitoring period.
October 10, 2014 – Nina Pham, a 26-year old nurse who cared for Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital tested positive for Ebola and was taken to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) Clinical Center. She recovered and was discharged on Oct. 24.
October 15, 2014 – Amber Vinson, a 29-year old nurse, became the second of Duncan’s health care workers to test positive for Ebola and was taken to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. She had flown from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10, and from Cleveland to Dallas on Oct. 13. CDC officials say they “worked to ensure that all passengers and crew on the two flights were contacted by public health professionals to answer their questions and arrange follow up as necessary.” The patient recovered and was discharged Oct. 28 and all monitored passengers completed monitoring by Nov. 3.
October 23, 2014 – The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported Ebola in Dr. Craig Spencer, a medical aid worker who had returned to New York City from Guinea, where he served with Doctors Without Borders. He recovered and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center Nov. 11. No cases developed from outings he’d made in New York prior to being admitted to the hospital with a fever.