A healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola according to preliminary tests by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ laboratory. The patient was isolated after the initial report of a fever and remains so now. Confirmation testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s laboratory is being done today.
On Friday October 10, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient reported a low grade fever and was referred for testing. The health care worker had been self-monitoring for fever and symptoms.
The hospital and patient were notified of the preliminary positive result. In addition, CDC has interviewed the patient to identify any contacts or potential exposures in the community.
This is understandably disturbing news for the patient, the patient’s family and colleagues and the greater Dallas community. The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with the index patient and immediate isolations if symptoms develop.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated. The illness has an average 8-10 day incubation period (although it could be from 2 to 21 days) so CDC recommends monitoring exposed people for symptoms a complete 21 days. People are not contagious during the incubation period, meaning before symptoms such as fever develop.
CDC tests results will be shared when confirmatory tests are done, following appropriate patient notification.