<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:45:48 -0500 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:45:48 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Neighbors Who Live Near Ebola Patient Concerned]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:09:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dallas+Apartment+100114.jpg

The first patient to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States was picked up by paramedics at an apartment building in Dallas in the 7200 block of Fair Oak Avenue.

Dallas Fire and Rescue came to The Ivy Apartments to take Thomas Eric Duncan to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

“It’s crazy,” said Chris Barrios, who lives in the Ivy Apartments. “I can’t believe it’s here man, the last place I would expect it to be.”

Neighbors who live in the Vickery Meadow area of Dallas say they are concerned.

“It worries me a lot because my wife and my family stay around this area,” said Barrios.

Three paramedics took Duncan to Presbyterian hospital by ambulance on Sunday.

But at the time they had no idea they were dealing with a patient with the Ebola virus.

“What our paramedics saw was this could be a contagious person, not knowing what it would turn into,” said Lieutenant Joel Lavender with Dallas Fire-Rescue.

The three paramedics are currently at home being monitored for 21 days.

Health officials are also keeping a close eye on anyone who they have confirmed has been in contact with Duncan after he showed symptoms of the disease about a week ago.

A team from the Centers for Disease Control in Dallas will continue to search for other people who might have been in contact with Duncan within the last week.

There are currently no other new reports of anyone with symptoms of the Ebola virus in the U.S.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hospitals Prepare for Possible Ebola Patients]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:21:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Isolation+100114.jpg

Hospitals across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex are preparing for possible cases of Ebola, one day after officials confirmed a patient in Dallas had tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

Dr. Alexander Eastman, the disaster medical director for Parkland Hospital in Dallas, said his hospital has beefed up patient screening at every hospital entrance.

Patients are now asked not only about their symptoms, but also about where they've traveled in the past three weeks and with whom they've been in contact.

"We take every threat to the citizens of Dallas County exquisitely seriously, and this is no different," Dr. Eastman said.

In the past six weeks, the hospital has screed more than 30,000 patients, Eastman said. Out of those, 16 had recently traveled to countries where the virus is present, and out of those, four required secondary screening.

Even though so far no one has required an actual Ebola test, Dr. Eastman said his team is ready if they suspect someone could be infected.

"The isolation would begin immediately upon presentation — whether they present to our emergency department, whether they present to our urgent care or whether they present to one of our out-patient sites," Eastman said.

"We have plenty of space that's capable for isolating these patients from the rest of the hospital population and to safely take care of them," he said.

Eastman said a suspected patient would be put in a trauma room with a sliding glass door, as opposed to a curtain, to keep them from other patients.

Anyone who entered the room would be required to be covered from head to toe, wearing a gown, a mask, eye shield, gloves and a hat.

The goal is to keep body fluids from spreading.

"What's most important is we take them off in a specified way and dispose of them where none of the blood or bodily fluids ever gets in contact with anything else," Eastman said. "All of this stuff, once it's used, will go into biohazard bags and be incinerated. None of this stuff will ever be used again."

Eastman said his hospital is taking the utmost protection to keep everyone safe — "so we're ready for whatever direction this takes us."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Answers to Viewer Questions]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:17:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dr+Yasmin+100114.jpg Dr. Seema Yasmin, The Dallas Morning News medical expert, answers questions from NBC 5 viewers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Worries Could Keep Some Dallas Students Home]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:11:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kids-generic.jpg

Some nervous Dallas parents picked up their children early from school Wednesday after learning that five students attended class after possibly being exposed to the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

School administrators urged calm. None of the children have shown symptoms and are now being monitored at home, where they are likely to remain for three weeks, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said.

But Marcie Pardo and other parents left L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary indicating that they might take no chances and keep their children home the rest of the week.

"Kids pretty much touch everything. Not everyone washes their hands," Pardo said. "It's the contagious part that gets me worried."

Ebola isn't contagious until symptoms appear, and then it can spread only by close contact with a patient's bodily fluids. Pardo said that knowledge makes her feel better -- but her 8-year-old daughter, Soriah, still left school early along with her cousin.

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood of tree-lined streets, Hotchkiss is one of four campuses in Dallas that Miles says the five students attended. He said the district is taking an "abundance of caution" and would add more health workers to keep watch for symptoms among students.

The district also planned to deploy more custodial workers to the campuses, which include another elementary school, two middle schools and a high school.

"The students didn't have any symptoms, so the odds of them passing on any sort of virus is very low," Miles said.

Nonetheless, Texas Gov. Rick Perry acknowledged that "parents are being extremely concerned about that development." Health officials say the five children are among 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man, who was listed in serious but stable condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

A pack of police officers and reporters outside Hotchkiss only added to Maria Vargas' nerves as she picked up her daughter Kailey. She said she didn't' know much about Ebola aside from that "it was very bad," and was told by a teacher that class was still on for Thursday.

"I'm worried. But I asked her, `We have to bring her tomorrow?' She said yeah," Vargas said.

The schools are in and around a part of Dallas known as Victory Meadow, one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods. Officials say one challenge will be getting information out in a part of town where 33 different languages are spoken, and that they would go door-to-door if necessary.

Ebola is believed to have sickened more than 7,100 people in West Africa, and more than 3,300 deaths have been linked to the disease, according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus.

Following her 4-year-old grandson down the sidewalk outside Hotchkiss, Cookie Deckard said she wasn't overly worried. But she wished the schools would at least reveal the ages of the affected students, and because her grandson is just getting over being sick, she said she'll consider keeping him home.

"It's definitely a concern," Deckard said. "It's better to be safe than sorry."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

<![CDATA[Can Mosquitoes Carry Ebola? Questions Answered]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:31:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dr+Seema+Yasmin+100114.jpg Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert with The Dallas Morning News, answers viewers questions about Ebola virus.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Patient Identified; Contacts Isolated]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:16:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Thomas-Eric-Duncan.jpg

The patient diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas has been identified as a Liberian man named Thomas Eric Duncan, NBC News has confirmed.

He is believed to have flown to the United States via two United Airlines flights, first flying from Brussels to Washington, D.C., and then taking a connecting flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.

United said Wednesday that it believes the patient, whom it did not identify, flew from Brussels to Washington Dulles on Flight 951 on Sept. 20, and then, three hours later, from Washington Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth on Flight 822 that same day.

The airline, reiterating what health officials have said, said that there was "zero risk of transmission" on any flight Duncan flew, because he didn't begin to show symptons until several days later.

The New York Times reported that Duncan may have become infected in Liberia on Sept. 15, when he helped carry his landlord's gravely ill daughter to the hospital. She died the next day.

Earlier this month, Duncan was completing an employment contract with a shipping company in Liberia's capital city of Monrovia. When that contract expired, he used a visa to travel to Dallas to visit family, well within the virus' 21-day incubation period.

Duncan arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and began showing symptoms on Sept. 24, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said Wednesday that Duncan sought medical care after 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and had only a low-grade fever and abdominal pain.

"His condition did not warrant admission. He also was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola," the hospital said in statement Wednesday. "The patient returned via ambulance on Sunday, Sept. 28, at which time EMS had already identified potential need for isolation. The hospital followed all suggested CDC protocols at that time."

A specimen sent to a state lab in Austin confirmed Tuesday that Duncan had contracted Ebola. Those test results were then confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In the days since Duncan left Liberia, his landlord's son, who had helped them carry his sister to the hospital, also died after a short, severe illness, the Times reported. Two other people in Liberia who may have had contact with the woman have also reportedly died.

Meanwhile, health officials in Dallas are monitoring as many as 18 people, including five children and an ambulance crew of three, who have been in contact with Duncan.

The schoolchildren and firefighters are all being isolated at home and will be monitored for 21-days from their date of exposure.

The four schools attended by the five students — Dan D. Rogers Elementary School, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary School, Sam Tasby Middle School and Emmett J. Conrad High School — all remain open but will be thoroughly cleaned, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said Wednesday.

None of those being monitored are currently showing any signs of Ebola, and state and federal health officials say no other suspected cases of Ebola exist in the United States.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Plano Launches Ebola Information Line]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:28:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/PlanoLogo031313.jpg

A day after it was announced that a man at a Dallas hospital with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. remains in isolation, the City of Plano launched an Ebola information line.

Plano sent out a news release listing a phone number, 972-769-4820, for an Emergency Management Specialist who will be available to answer citizens' questions about Ebola.

There's also a page dedicated to Ebola on the city's website.

Plano is the largest city in Collin County with a population of more than 266,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[DCHHS Monitoring Up to 18 Exposed to Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:13:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dchhs-christopher-perkins.jpg Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas County Health and Human Services Medical Director, talks about what is being done to monitor as many as 18 people who came into contact with a person diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Clay Jenkins Calls for Calm Amid Ebola Scare]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:07:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/clay-jenkins-ebola.jpg Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins talks about the Ebola diagnosis in Dallas, Oct. 1, 2014, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Mayor on Ebola Risk, Airport Preparedness]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:01:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola-mike-rawlings_1200x675_336331843767.jpg Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings talks about the risk of contracting Ebola in Dallas, Oct. 1, 2014, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.]]> <![CDATA[Travelers From West Africa Warned About Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:05:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP645337997349.jpg

All people traveling to the United States from countries with Ebola are being warned as of Wednesday about the potentially deadly virus' symptoms, and how it is spread.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will hand out a flyer with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all U.S.-bound travelers from those countries. 

That flyer also contains a card that any passenger who starts showing symptoms in the following days can hand their doctors, to alert them of the risk.

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been diagnosed in Dallas, in a patient who had arrived days earlier from Liberia, one of the West African nations at the center of a massive outbreak.

The announcement Tuesday by officials sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who have a fever and other Ebola symptoms, the CDC says.

Symptoms appear between two and 21 days of exposure to the virus. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC. 

The virus can be spread to other people through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, contaminated objects or infected animals, including by eating infected meat.

See the flyer that customs officials are giving travelers below.

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[5 Dallas Children Monitored for Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:44:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola-mike-miles_1200x675_336323139905.jpg Mike Miles, the superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, said five children are being monitored after coming into contact with a man diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Miles spoke Oct. 1, 2014, during a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.]]> <![CDATA[Texas is Prepared for Ebola Event: State]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:41:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola-presser-lakey_1200x675_336318019595.jpg David L. Lakey, M.D., Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, talks about the Ebola diagnosis in Dallas, Oct. 1, 2014, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.]]> <![CDATA[Perry Praises Texas' Readiness to Battle Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:17:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rick-perry-newser.jpg Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Wednesday saying few places were better equipped than Texas to deal with an Ebola diagnosis.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Your Ebola Questions Answered]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:57:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dr-seema-yasmin-02.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin answers questions about Ebola.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Becomes Ground Zero for Ebola in America: Editorial]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:14:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dr._Tom_Frieden_1200x675_335843395730.jpg

Dallas is now ground zero for Ebola in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has quarantined the first case ever diagnosed on American soil.

Click here for more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News

<![CDATA[Hospital Made Preps for Treating an Ebola Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:06:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456420436.jpg

When Ebola arrived, they were ready.

The staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas did a run-through just last week of procedures to follow if the deadly virus landed in Dallas.

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola's Arrival in U.S. Was Inevitable: Experts]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:04:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456420462.jpg

The world suddenly seemed a lot smaller when news broke Tuesday that the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. is being isolated and treated at a Dallas hospital.

While the outbreak in West Africa has sickened more than 6,000 people and killed 3,083, it was only a matter of time before the virus hit closer to home, experts said.

CLICK HERE for more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Test Ebola Patient's Relatives]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:52:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ebola2.jpg Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson: "I won't say it's a suspected case right now. But what I will say is I wouldn't be shocked if we hear of a second confirmed case today."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hospital Staff Takes Precaution to Contain Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:39:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Texas+Health+Presbyterian+Hospital+daytime+wide.jpg Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital personnel take extra precaution while investigating and treating the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Under 21-Day Watch Period to Stop Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:22:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola_concerns_1200x675_336255043723.jpg The DMN writer Sherry Jacobson discusses what the city and county of Dallas will have to do to stop the spread of Ebola.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Health Officials Address Dallas Ebola Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:22:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Texas+Health+Presbyterian+Hospital+daytime+wide.jpg

National and local health officials addressed reporters Tuesday after test results confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has been placed in strict isolation following the diagnosis.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the first Ebola case in Dallas, saying: "We will stop it here."

Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, talks about the patient who came to Texas to visit family and has been hospitalized and diagnosed with Ebola.

Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, talks about the patient diagnosed with Ebola.

Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, details Dallas County's response to an Ebola patient in Dallas, saying: "Your public health is our No. 1 priority."

Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, covers the steps the state is taking to deal with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in Dallas.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Ambulance Crew Tests Negative]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital have tested negative for the Ebola virus, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and was isolated and tested following the discovery.

The three members of the ambulance crew are restricted to their homes while their conditions are observed and while the virus' incubation period passes.

The patient was vomiting when the ambulance got to the hospital, Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said. 

The ambulance crew is among 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man. Some are members of his family, but not all, Syed said.

Should the ambulance crew members develop symptoms, investigators will then determine with whom they came into contact and monitor those people for symptoms as well.

The ambulance used to transport the man has been pulled from service at Station 37 in 6700 block of Greenville Avenue.

Chopper 5 showed Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance 37 parked away from all other vehicles at the training center in the 5000 block of Dolphin Road. The ambulance was wrapped in red caution tape and blocked in.

The City of Dallas said it has activated the city's Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness after receiving confirmation that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation. The person moved to Dallas from Liberia a week ago.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know: How Ebola Is Spread]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:29:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people via direct contact with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen
  • Objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Confirms First U.S. Ebola Case in Dallas]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:24:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_ebola.jpg The first case of the Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States has been confirmed in Dallas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Telemundo]]>
<![CDATA[First U.S. Ebola Case Confirmed in Dallas]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:08:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola-dallas.jpg

A person who arrived in Dallas from Liberia a week ago tested positive for Ebola Tuesday, becoming the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the potentially deadly virus, the City of Dallas confirmed.

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24. Hospital officials listed him in serious condition Wednesday after previously being listed in critical condition.

Because the patient showed no symptoms of the virus when he arrived in the U.S. Sept. 20, there was no risk to fellow airline passengers, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"We’ve stopped every Ebola outbreak that’s ever occurred in Africa expect for this one," he said. And this one could have been stopped  if we had gotten in there earlier.

The CDC will ensure that the patient will be treated in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading infection, Frieden said. He also said a team is in Dallas to identify anyone the patient might have infected and monitor them for 21 days.

"We will stop Ebola in its tracks in the U.S.," he said.

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson told NBC 5 that they are focused on 12 to 18 people who had close, physical contact with the patient while symptomatic in Dallas. He said about 10 epidemiologists from the county and CDC are investigating the patient's friends and family.

"The number that is on the ground right now to do the contact investigation is adequate," Thompson said. "If that number was to expand, we'd ask for additional resources."

Thompson said medical professionals have tested one of the patient's relatives, but did not say whether it was a "suspected case."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second confirmed case," he said. "We know that several family members had very close physical contact with this patient."

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital tested negative for Ebola, but they will be monitored for symptoms as the incubation period passes, Dallas city officials said. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

"I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden said. "It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member, or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known, but a traditional ambulance crew complement is two. Firetrucks can carry an additional five first responders.

The Ebola diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday after specimens were sent from Presbyterian Hospital to the Texas public health laboratory in Austin, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Tuesday. The Austin lab, which was certified last month to test for Ebola, tested the specimen and sent the sample to the CDC in Atlanta for further confirmation.

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian. On Wednesday morning, the hospital listed the patient's condition as serious.

After receiving the Ebola diagnosis, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness. State and federal health officials said Tuesday there are no other confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola virus in the state, though.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to hold a news conference at noon Wednesday to discuss the Ebola diagnosis.

According to the City of Dallas, the patient moved to Dallas a week ago, but health officials with the CDC said the patient only came to Dallas to visit family. The unidentified man's nationality is not yet known, but NBC 5 confirmed the man is a father who previously lived in the United States. His last known residence was in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

"People have been calling, trying to find out if anybody knows the family," said Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth. "We've been telling people to try to stay away from social gatherings."

Dallas Patient the Fifth Ebola Patient Treated in U.S. This Year

The patient is the fifth person treated for Ebola in the country this year after missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Rick Sacra all contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Brantly and Writebol have fully recovered after they were given experimental drugs and treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in August.  Sacra was treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and was released Sept. 25. He had been working in Liberia on behalf of SIM. The identity and condition of the fourth patient has not been released. It is believed that they are still being treated at Emory Hospital.

Writebol issued a statement Tuesday after learning of the new diagnosis in Dallas on Tuesday.

"We are sad for the family of the patient and pray for recovery to good health," she said. "It is a mercy that the best medical care is available. We also pray for the safety of the medical staff attending to the patient."

How is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease spread through close, direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of a living or dead person who had contracted Ebola. The virus is only contagious when symptoms are present, and it is not spread through the air, through food or water.

Symptoms for Ebola virus involve a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure but the average is eight to 10 days.

If someone exposed to Ebola has not shown symptoms for 21 days they are not expected to develop Ebola.

According to the CDC, recovery from Ebola depends on the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for about 10 years.

The CDC said the United States is well-equipped to manage and treat Ebola and that the chances of an outbreak like the one in West Africa is extremely low.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon Jeff Smith and Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Losing His Sight Travels to See Northern Lights]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:26:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_northernlightsboy0930_1500x845.jpg Young boy travels to Alaska to view Northern Lights and nature before he goes blind. Blake Essig reports.]]> <![CDATA[North Texas Patient Tested for Possible Ebola]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:34:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Texas+Health+Presbyterian+Hospital+Dallas.jpg A patient in a Dallas hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Keeps Close Watch on Enterovirus]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:06:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_enterovirus_d68.jpg

At least a few extra families started off their week with a trip to the Denton County Health Department Monday, getting their kids checked out "just in case" now that enterovirus-D68 has showed up in the county.

On Friday, the county health department announced one child hospitalized for the illness that has affected at least 11 children in North Texas and about 443 people in 40 states across the country as of Monday.

Denton County Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson said the good news is that the child in the Denton County case has been treated and released from the hospital, and so far no other cases or possible cases have been brought to his attention.

However, we may only be seeing the start of the virus in the area, he said.

"It really feels like the cases, as more doctors, more physicians are testing for the virus, we're going to see more positives, I think, in the next few weeks," said Richardson.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EV-D68 can range from a mild to severe respiratory illness that mainly affects children, infants and children.

Health experts said it can be a tricky bug because it usually comes on looking like a normal common cold and then grows worse, developing into symptoms like a fever, wheezing and even trouble breathing.

Richardson said the other challenge is that it's also an illness we're still learning about.

In Colorado, most recently, doctors and the CDC began looking into about 10 cases of children coming down with a neurological illness causing weakness and even paralysis in the limbs. At this point they're still trying to determine how the enterovirus may have playing into that, if at all.

"It's a 'time will tell' sort of thing. It's a very long road," said Dr. Joyce Oleszek, with Children's Hospital of Colorado. "It is still too early to know what the recovery will be for these children."

Doctors at Children's Health in Dallas are trying to determine how the virus is affecting children in North Texas.

"In all likelihood, what we are seeing now, given the large spread of the virus, it's probably through a respiratory route," explained Dr. Jeff Kahn, who leads the infectious disease department at Children's Health.

Kahn said the amount of children displaying symptoms of paralysis is small and appears to be rare.

"In all likelihood, this virus has infected a very large percentage of children, and children who have neurological symptoms are really just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Health experts recommend folks follow the same prevention tips they do for the flu to avoid this virus. That includes hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, avoiding touching hands to your mouth or eyes and coughing into your arm.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Reports 3rd Case of Chikungunya]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:54:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mosquito793617fx.jpg

The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department confirms a third case of Chikungunya in Dallas County this year.

The infected person contracted the virus during a recent trip to a foreign county, health officials said Monday.

Further details on this case were not released due to medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and it can cause sudden fever and joint pain, as well as rashes.

While most people infected with Chikungunya recover, there is no vaccine, and it can become disabling.

Numerous cities in North Texas are continuing to spray for mosquitoes, and health officials urge the public to take protective measures by utilizing the "4Ds" to reduce the risk of being bitten by a mosquito infected with Chikungunya:

• DEET All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

• DRESS: Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outside.

• DRAIN: Remove all areas of standing water in and around your home.

• DUSK & DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pumpkin-Flavor Fake Out]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:19:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_pumpkin_facial_111612_ew_380.jpg It's being called the pumpkin-flavor fake out. The fruit is rich with fiber and other healthy nutrients, but those lattes, breads and granola may not actually have pumpkin in them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Enterovirus Hits Another North Texas County]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:08:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_enterovirus_d68.jpg A growing health concern in North Texas, as Denton County Health Department confirmed the county's first pediatric case of enterovirus-D68 on Friday. The day before, Dallas County health officials confirmed 10 cases of the respiratory virus there.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[Enterovirus D-68 Reported in Denton County]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:11:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_enterovirus_d68.jpg

Denton County Health Department has confirmed a pediatric case of enterovirus-D68, making it the first case of the illness for the county.

The patient was hospitalized and has been released.

EV-D68 has already been reported in Dallas County.

In a statement, Dr. Matt Richardson, Denton County Health Department Director, said:

“We are reminding parents to take sick children with an unexplained respiratory infection to their healthcare provider, specifically children with asthma. When we see illnesses like this that have no specific treatment other than supportive care, we return to the basics of prevention. Hand washing, limiting exposure of sick kids to school settings and seeing the doctor when the child’s condition worsens are still the most important things parents can do.”

Some of the more severe symptoms of the EV-D68 are wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Mild symptoms of illness include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, body and muscle aches.

For the most part, infants, children and teenagers are most likely to get enteroviruses because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to these viruses.

Children with asthma are more at risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.

EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when someone coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces.

Now, hospitals in North Texas have received an alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an investigation of nine cases of muscle weakness and paralysis in Colorado children, possibly attributed to EV-D68.

Those symptoms not been seen in North Texas, however hospitals continue to see children who may have EV-D68.

In fact, Medical City Children's reports that so far it has taken six samples of possible cases, including three of them on Friday alone.

Those samples will be held until the Dallas County Health Department calls for them and sends them off the to the CDC for testing.

"What we've seen so far is that it has run its course. It's just taking a little more supportive treatment," said Jim Allard, director of pediatric nursing at Medical City Children’s.

Allard said there has not been a recent spike in other respiratory illnesses like the flu, just children who have what appears to be EV-D68.

"It's causing wheezing in kids. It's the wheezing that's of concern, so if patients have the wheezing that's when they're asking families to reach out to their doctor," he said.

You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, including EV-D68, by following these steps:

  • Asthma patients should take special precautions – Since those with asthma are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should regularly take medicines and follow guidance to maintain control of their illness during this time. They should also take advantage of influenza vaccine when available since people with asthma have a difficult time with respiratory illnesses.
  • Wash your hands – Use soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands. This is the easiest way to stop the spread of germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – Some germs can live for 2 hours or more on surfaces like door knobs, desks, and tables.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away to prevent the spread of the droplets. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow.
  • Stay home when you feel sick – Stay home from work, stores, and public places, and keep sick kids home from school or daycare.
  •  Try to avoid close contact with sick people – Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or utensils with those who may be sick.
  • Practice good health habits – Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces – Pay close attention to toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

For more information, visit the CDC enterovirus D68 website.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>