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Ebola Case Confirmed in US


Federal health officials have confirmed that a patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola.  

The case announced Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control is the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States.  

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital say the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation. Presbyterian Hospital officials say they're following CDC recommendations to keep doctors, staff and patients safe.

The man in Dallas flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned, and wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.

He first developed symptoms on Wednesday, Sept. 24, according to the CDC, and first sought care on Sept. 26. On Sunday, Sept. 28, he was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Health officials have already started searching for people who may have come into close contact with the man; Ebola is only spread via direct contact with body fluids, and isn't contagious until symptoms appear.

This isn't the first time somebody has been treated for Ebola in the U.S. Several American aid workers in recent weeks caught the virus while working in West Africa and were flown back to the U.S. for treatment.

But it's the first time the disease has been detected in a person in the U.S. The CDC is sending a team to Dallas to work with state and local health officials.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to grow rapidly. As of Thursday, there have been more 6,500 cases across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. More 3,000 people have died of the disease, the World Health Organization says.

Infectious diseases experts have predicted for weeks that a few Ebola cases would likely get imported into the U.S. And hospitals around the country have been preparing to detect and treat such a case.

Because Ebola only spreads through body fluids, officials have said that any case like this will likely be quickly identified and contained, and not lead to a widespread outbreak like the one happening now in West Africa.