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Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He was diagnosed with sinusitis after complaining about fever, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. The emergency doctor prescribed him some antibiotics and was sent home. Duncan returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later and additional blood test confirmed that he has been infected with the Ebola virus.
An investigation revealed that Duncan just returned from Liberia. Nine days before he showed up in the Dallas hospital, Duncan had helped transport a neighbor to a hospital in Liberia who was infected with Ebola virus. Several days later after being admitted, Duncan died of the infection.
The eclipse phase is the period between the infection by the virus and the appearance of mature virus within the cell. During this period, the viral disease cannot be transferred to another person. When the infected individual starts to show symptoms, the disease becomes contagious. Direct contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, and vomit can transmit the Ebola virus from person to person.
In the United States, a patient infected with Ebola virus is immediately quarantined and health officials back trace to identify everyone with whom the infected patient might have interacted. In Duncan’s case, officials were able to track 11 high-risk individuals to monitor their signs of infection and unfortunately, one of the nurses who took care of Duncan became infected.
In conclusion along with the initial misdiagnosis of Duncan, US hospitals need to provide additional training to prevent possible Ebola outbreak.