Texas hospital worker tests positive for Ebola

Texas hospital worker tests positive for Ebola

A healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for an Ebola patient has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test.

A statement posted on the Texas Department of State Health Service’s website said “confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta”.

Officials say the healthcare worker reported a low grade fever on Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing.

Dr David Varga, of the Texas Health Resource, said the healthcare worker was in full protective gear when they provided care to Mr Duncan during his second visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr Varga did not identify the worker, who is in a stable condition, and said the family of the worker have “requested total privacy”.

Dr David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said officials have “been preparing for this possibility”.

Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US, died on Wednesday in Dallas.

If the preliminary diagnosis is confirmed, it would be the first known case of the disease being contracted or transmitted in the US.

Hospital and state health officials did not identify the healthcare worker or provide a job description.

Ebola spreads through close contact with a symptomatic person’s bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, faeces, urine, saliva or semen.

Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed.

The World Health Organisation said blood, faeces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat.

Mr Duncan, 42, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US, grew up next to a leper colony in Liberia and fled years of war before later returning to his country to find it ravaged by the disease that ultimately took his life.

He arrived in Dallas in late September, realising a long-held ambition to join relatives. But when he arrived in Dallas, though he showed no symptoms, he had already been exposed to Ebola.

His neighbours in Liberia believe Mr Duncan became infected when he helped a pregnant neighbour who later died from it. It was unclear if he knew about her diagnosis before travelling.

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