CDC CONFIRMS: EBOLA IS NOW IN THE UNITED STATES, SILENT ON WHETHER CARRIER IS FOREIGN

Italy EbolaBy Julie Steenhuysen and Sharon Begley. U.S. health officials said on Tuesday the first patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus had been diagnosed in the country after flying from Liberia to Texas, in a new sign of how the outbreak ravaging West Africa can spread globally.

The patient sought treatment six days after arriving in Texas on Sept. 20, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters on Tuesday. He was admitted two days later to an isolation room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

U.S. health officials and lawmakers have been bracing for the eventuality that a patient would arrive on U.S. shores undetected, testing the preparedness of the nation’s healthcare system.

Frieden said a handful of people, mostly family members, may have been exposed to the patient after he fell ill. He said there was likely no threat to any passengers who had traveled with the patient. Asked whether the patient was a U.S. citizen, Frieden described the person as a visitor to family in the country.

“It is certainly possible someone who had contact with this individual could develop Ebola in the coming weeks,” Frieden told a news conference. “I have no doubt we will stop this in its tracks in the United States.”

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Readying for Ebola: How U.S. Hospitals Are Gearing Up

By Eric Niiler.

Federal health-care officials, hospital administrators and emergency-care doctors are preparing for the first cases of Ebola here in the United States. Experts say it’s not a question of if, but rather when it will happen.

The good news is that the public health infrastructure in the United States — from the epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control to the weekend physician at the local doc-in-a-box — has been mobilized for this very eventuality. Many hospitals, even those in many rural areas, are prepared with virus-proof protective gear and isolation units for sick patients.

The bad news is that the disease continues to grow unabated in West Africa, and that containing the spread is getting tougher every day.

“We will see cases,” said Alessandro Vespignani, a physics professor at Northeastern University who has developed a biological model of the worldwide spread of Ebola based on current infection rates, population trends and air traffic from the affected zone. “The good news from our modeling is the size of the outbreak is very limited. Even in the worse case, the size of the outbreak in the United States is just two or three individuals.”

Vespignani’s model estimates probability of an infected Ebola patient — not an infected health care worker — showing up on a given day currently in the United States at 3 or 4 percent. That number jumps to 20 percent by the end of October.

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Photo Credit: CBS46

Photo Credit: CBS46

CDC issues Ebola guidelines for U.S. funeral homes

By Jocelyn Connell.

CBS46 News has confirmed the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients. If the outbreak of the potentially deadly virus is in West Africa, why are funeral homes in America being given guidelines?

The three-page list of recommendations include instructing funeral workers to wear protective equipment when dealing with the remains since Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care. It also instructs to avoid autopsies and embalming.

Click here for complete coverage on the Ebola outbreak.

Alysia English is Executive Director of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, the oldest and largest funeral association in Georgia.

Georgia is comprised of 700 funeral homes and 2,000 funeral directors.

CBS46 News

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