The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed that a second person in the state has tested positive of the Ebola virus. The latest case involves the healthcare worker who provided care for the first Ebola case in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Duncan died on Wednesday (Oct. 8).
The department released a statement addressing Texas’ latest case:
A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the Ebola patient hospitalized there has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test at the state public health laboratory in Austin. Confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. The preliminary ?test result was received late Saturday.
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures. People who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. People are not contagious before symptoms such as fever develop.
If the test results prove accurate, this will be the first case of the Ebola virus being contracted in the United States. The healthcare worker in question took Duncan’s temperature daily, and is currently in stable in condition, according to ABC News.