U.S. Ebola Timeline

Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine - PLoS Pathogens, November 2008 direct link to the image description page doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000225
Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles.


July: Two Americans, Samaritan’s Purse relief workers Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 59, are infected while working in Liberia. They are brought to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. It’s not known exactly how they contracted Ebola.

August: Massachusetts doctor Rick Sacra, 51, is diagnosed with Ebola after providing aid at a Liberia hospital. He had not been treating Ebola patients and it’s not known exactly how he contracted Ebola. He is brought to the U.S. to Nebraska Medical Center on Sept. 5 for treatment, including a blood transfusion from Brantly. He later recovers.

Tues. Aug. 19: Writebol is released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Thurs. Aug. 21: Dr. Brantly is discharged from Emory University Hospital.

Tues. Sept. 9: An unnamed American Ebola patient who had been working for the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone arrives at Emory University Hospital for treatment.

Wed. Sept. 17: National experts on respiratory protection and infectious disease transmission, Dr. Lisa Brosseau and Dr. Rachel Jones, write a commentary stating that Ebola has “unclear modes of transmission” and “has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks.”

Sat. Sept. 20: A Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, 45, arrives in Dallas from Liberia. On screening paperwork, he fails to admit his contact with Ebola patients.

Thurs. Sept. 25: President Obama speaks at a U.N. conference on Ebola and urges attendees “to make sure that they are making this a top priority.”

Fri. Sept. 26: Duncan goes to E.R. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas with 103-degree fever but is sent home with antibiotics.

Dr. Sacra is released from Nebraska Medical Center.

Sun. Sept. 28: Duncan becomes so ill that paramedics pick him up in an ambulance and take him back to Texas Health Presbyterian where he infects at least two nurses.

Wed. Oct. 1: NBC Cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, 33, falls ill after being exposed to Ebola patients in West Africa while on a shoot with NBC TV doctor Nancy Snyderman.

Wed. Oct. 2: Mukpo tests positive for Ebola and is brought back to the U.S. for treatment at Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Snyderman and the rest of the crew are put under a 21-day voluntary quarantine.

Wed. Oct. 8: Duncan passes away at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman violated her voluntary Ebola quarantine

Dr. Nancy Snyderman violated her voluntary Ebola quarantine

Thurs. Oct. 9: TV doctor Nancy Snyderman is spotted violating her voluntary quarantine to get takeout food.

Fri. Oct. 10: A nurse who treated Duncan, Amber Joy Vinson, 29, flies from Dallas to Cleveland, Ohio despite being in a quarantine period after exposure to Duncan. While in Ohio, she visits a bridal shop with five friends.

Mon. Oct. 13: Nurse Vinson flies back from Ohio on a Frontier Airlines flight, despite having a fever.

Sun. Oct. 12: CDC confirms first Ebola case transmitted on U.S. soil: that of Nina Pham, a nurse who cared for Duncan. She later recovers.

Tues. Oct. 14: CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden announces special CDC teams will respond “within hours” to hospitals with confirmed Ebola cases. Admits he “wishes” he had done this earlier and says it might have prevented the Dallas nurse who cared for Duncan from being infected.

Dr. Snyderman apologizes for violating quarantine.

Wed. Oct. 15: Vinson is diagnosed with Ebola: the second nurse to have been infected through Duncan. She later recovers.

President Obama cancels fundraising appearances in Connecticut and New Jersey and convenes a cabinet meeting at the White House regarding the Ebola response.

Thurs. Oct. 16: For a second day, President Obama cancels fundraisers and holds a cabinet meeting. He announces CDC personnel have been deployed to Ohio where Vinson flew while ill. He defends lack of a travel ban saying that screening for fever on both ends and tracking them is “more effective.” The President says risk remains “relatively low, extremely low.”

Nurse Pham is flown to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for treatment in Bethesda, Maryland. Vinson had already been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Thomas Frieden

CDC Director Thomas Frieden

CDC’s Dr. Frieden defends Ebola response at Congressional hearing.

Fri. Oct. 17: President Obama names Ron Klain as “Ebola Czar.”

Sun. Oct. 19: The unnamed Ebola patient in treatment at Emory since Sept. 9 is discharged.

Mon. Oct. 20: CDC strengthens guidelines for healthcare workers treating Ebola.

Tues. Oct. 21: The Dept. of Homeland Security announces plans to require all U.S. bound passengers from primary Ebola nations to arrive at one of the 5 U.S. airports with enhanced screening.

Thurs. Oct. 23: A fourth U.S. patient tests positive for Ebola in New York City: Dr. Craig Allen Spencer, 33, of Doctors Without Borders who, on Oct. 17, returned from Guinea, West Africa. Dr. Spencer reportedly had gone bowling but officials say “did not have contact very many people.”

Fri. Oct. 24: Nurse Nina Pham is released from the hospital and declared Ebola-free.

Sat. Nov. 15: Dr. Martin Salia, who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leona, arrives in the U.S. for treatment at Nebraska Medical Center. He is already critically ill. He is the tenth known Ebola patient treated in the U.S.

Mon. Nov. 17: Dr. Salia dies at Nebraska Medical Center.

Mon. Dec. 1: According to CDC, more than 1,400 people in 44 states in the U.S. are being monitored for Ebola after having arrived from West Africa.

Mon. Dec. 22: A major CDC lab error possibly exposes a CDC technician to Ebola. Non-inactivated Ebola samples were mistakenly sent from a high security CDC lab to another office up the hall where a CDC technician who worked with them without wearing a mask.


March 13: Eleventh person with Ebola to be treated in U.S., a health care worker from Boston-based Partners in Health, is flown in from Sierra Leone and admitted to NIH for treatment.

Thur. April 9: The health care worker flown in from Sierra Leone is released from NIH after recovering.




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