BREAKING YESTERDAY: According to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the first ever U.S. Ebola patient (while infectious) has had contact with four or five school age students and these students had attended 4 different schools with in the Dallas School District.
Concern about the possible spread of the killer virus comes less than a day after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) informed the public that, for the first time ever, a person with Ebola was diagnosed in the United States.
According to Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles; four or five students at different schools have come into contact with the Ebola patient. Although, as of yet none of these students has exhibited symptoms. The children are being monitored at home, and the schools remain open, Miles said.
Miles identified the schools as:
- Conrad High School
- Tasby Middle School
- Hotchkiss Elementary School
- Dan D. Rogers Elementary School
We have further learned that the Ebola patient had come into contact with 80+ individuals during this infectious period. There are new concerns today that there may be an Ebola Case in Hawaii. This person is under observations and undergoing test to dispel those concerns.
Prior the the September 30th announcement the CDC was reporting about the 2014 West Africa Outbreak the following;
The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known — affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening.
The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fevers. When ill with the Ebola virus, it is marked by severe bleeding (hemorrhage), organ failure and, in many cases, death. This virus is native to Africa, where sporadic outbreaks have occurred for decades.
Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection. Early signs and symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Joint and muscle aches
Exposure Risk Levels
Levels of exposure risk are defined as follows:
- High risk exposures: A high risk exposure includes any of the following:
- Percutaneous (e.g., needle stick) or mucous membrane exposure to blood or body fluids of infectious patient
- Direct skin contact with, or exposure to blood or body fluids of, an infectious patient without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Processing blood or body fluids of a confirmed infectious patient without appropriate PPE or standard biosafety precautions
- Direct contact with a dead body without appropriate PPE in a country where an ebiola outbreak is occurring
- Low risk exposures: A low risk exposure includes any of the following:
- Household contact with an Ebola patient
- Other close contact with Ebola patients in health care facilities or community settings. Close contact is defined as:
- being within approximately 3 feet (1 meter) of an Ebola patient or within the patient’s room or care area for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
- having direct brief contact (e.g., shaking hands) with an Ebola patient while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
- Exception: Brief interactions, such as walking by a person or moving through a hospital, do not constitute close contact
- Infected animals
- Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food.
- It is passed by close direct contact with body fluids
What Schools, University & Colleges can do:
- They should identify students, faculty, and staff who have been in countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring within the past days/month and should conduct a risk assessment with each identified person to determine his or her level of risk exposure (See above: high- or low-risk exposures, or no known exposure).
- If students, faculty or staff have had NO symptoms of Ebola for 21 days since leaving a an infected country with the Ebola outbreaks, they do NOT have Ebola. No further assessment is needed.
- If a student, faculty, or staff member has had a high- or low-risk exposure, state or local public health authorities should be notified, and school officials should consult with public health authorities for guidance about how that person should be monitored.
Learn More about Pandemic vs. Epidemic:
What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?
A pandemic is different from an epidemic or seasonal outbreak.
- Put simply, a pandemic covers a much wider geographical area, often worldwide. A pandemic also infects many more people than an epidemic. An epidemic is specific to one city, region or country, while a pandemic goes much further than national borders.
- An epidemic is when the number of people who become infected rises well beyond what is expected within a country or a part of a country. When the infection takes place in several countries at the same time it then starts turning into a pandemic.
- A pandemic is usually caused by a new virus strain or subtype – a virus humans either have no immunity against, or very little immunity. If immunity is low or non-existent the virus is much more likely to spread around the world if it becomes easily human transmissible.
- In the case of influenza, seasonal outbreaks (epidemics) are generally caused by subtypes of a virus that is already circulating among people. Pandemics, on the other hand, are generally caused by novel subtypes – these subtypes have not circulated among people before. Pandemics can also be caused by viruses, in the case of influenza, that perhaps have not circulated among people for a very long time.
- Pandemics generally cause much higher numbers of deaths than epidemics. The social disruption, economic loss, and general hardship caused by a pandemic are much higher than what an epidemic can cause.