Ebola Arrives in America


As the Ebola epidemic continues to sweep throughout West Africa, the first case in America appeared early October in Dallas, Texas, causing national fear over the disease.

There are currently patients in isolated health centers in America that were transported from Africa to undergo treatment, but all of the patients did not receive the disease in the country.

Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, a Liberian man living the the US, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus and was on a ventilator for his failing kidneys. He was treated with brincidofovir, an antiviral drug that is being experimented on animals. Although there was some positive news released saying that Duncan’s blood pressure and temperature were back to normal, he was still under critical medical care and was being observed carefully. Unfortunately, on the morning of Wednesday October 8th, he passed away in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Uneasiness about health safety has began in country. There are 48 people who have come in contact with Duncan after he showed symptoms of Ebola. All are under observation, but 10 of the people are supposed to be at high risk of the disease. “None of them are sick, none of them have a fever,” said health official Dr. Thomas. R. Frieden, who is the director of the Center for Disease Control and Protection. Also, airplane screening for signs of Ebola in 5 major international airports throughout the country has started. The screenings will only be done on travelers from the West Africans countries. The Coast Guard will take the passengers’ temperature and ask them questions about their exposure to Ebola.

Days after the death of Duncan, another person in Dallas became infected. This time, it was Nina Pham, a 23 year old nurse who took care of Duncan. This second case was a huge scare, but as of October 24, she is Ebola free. Pham was sent to the NIH’s Special Clinical Studies Unit in Maryland for treatment. She is being discharged from the center, and she will head back to Dallas.

Craig Spencer, a physician who treated Ebola patients in Africa came back to the country on October 17. He developed a fever and felt muscle pain and fatigue, which are all symptoms of Ebola. He just received a blood transfusion from a recent Ebola survivor, and medics believe that this transfusion will cure him just like it did to other patients. He is currently awake and communicating but is under antiviral medication.

In South Carolina, three hospitals including the Greenville Memorial Hospital have agreed to treat a patient with Ebola. Greenville Memorial Medical President Paul Johnson says, “We’re used to treating emergencies. We’re used to treating major trauma. We’re used to drilling, and in disasters this is something we’re looking at as a stepped-up level of what we normally do. It’s fully covered in our disaster plan.”

The battle against this disease continues. As of now, the world can only hope. Doctors are experimenting with drugs that can possibly be cures, and on the bright side, no one has given up.