The first Ebola diagnosed patient in the United States, Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan has taken a turn for the worse and is classified as being in critical condition, according to a representative from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where Duncan is being treated.

Ebola virus
Ebola fever picture/CDC

In an Ebola investigation update today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden said, “We had assessed 114 people who may or may not have had exposure to the patient.  We’ve done the assessments in all 114 but there’s still a couple we’re sorting out whether or not they are actual contacts.  At this point, we have identified along with the folks on the ground in Texas nine individuals who we’re pretty sure are definite contacts with the source patient, with the index case (Duncan) as we refer to him.

“That includes family members as well as some people in the health care profession.  In addition, there are about 40 other people — and the numbers may change by one or two per day — that we can’t rule out had contact.”

Frieden continues, “All of the nine who had definite contact we were able to reach so we are confident that none of those with definite contact had any symptoms related to Ebola.  None of them had fever.  We’ll be watching that very closely, particularly for those nine individuals in the coming days, understanding that the peak period after exposure is about eight to ten days, but it can be as long as 21 days.”

Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas DSHS said, echoing Dr. Frieden about all the hard work contact tracing and shoe leather public health work being performed, also said that “Dallas right now is making contingency plans, making sure that if something happens that we’re ready for those type of events, whether if another individual becomes ill, how would the individual be cared for, a variety of things that could happen, making sure that we have those type of plans in place for this situation right now that’s going on in Dallas.”

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