Dallas County officials have found the man who they believe has come in contact with an Ebola patient in the Texas city, Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins announced via Twitter Sunday afternoon.
“The low risk individual who was identified by our local team as a contact has been found and is being monitored,” Jenkins tweeted.
The individual, whom officials describe as low-exposure, was monitored Saturday by Dallas health workers and at the time was asymptomatic before going missing. Officials stressed during Sunday’s briefing that Ebola can only be spread while a person is showing symptoms of virus.
More than 800 calls and emails are flooding the CDC the each day, up from 50, as the Ebola outbreak continues to spread fear throughout the United States.
The condition of the first person to develop Ebola in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, has moved to critical, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Duncan traveled from Liberia two weeks ago and became symptomatic after arriving in the U.S. In the worst Ebola outbreak to date, the virus has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa since March.
The CDC has identified 10 high-risk individuals who have come in contact with the Ebola patient, including seven health-care workers and three family members. Another 38 people are being monitored for 21 days, the most conservative end of the virus’ incubation period. The CDC evaluated 114 potential contacts.
Frieden said on ABC’s “This Week” that aside from Duncan’s case, his office has seen no evidence of new Ebola cases.
“We expect to see more concerns, more rumors and more possibilities of cases that require investigation,” Frieden said.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on “Meet the Press” that that the administration is considering a more aggressive approach to screening at U.S. airports that service connecting flights to West Africa. Measures to supplement outbound health screening could include questioning passengers about any contact with infected persons and checking for elevated temperatures.
Mitchell said CDC officials “believe if they go to a small number, four main airports, they can get about 75% of the people coming in.”
Frieden told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that the Ebola virus “Is not going to spread widely in the U.S. for two basic reasons: We can do infection control in hospitals and we can do public health interventions that stop it in its tracks,” by identifying possible contacts and monitoring their health. While Frieden said that “a couple of promising vaccines” are in initial trials, “the drug pipeline is going to be slow.”
White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer said on “Meet the Press” that with the “best public health infrastructure and the best doctors in the world, there is no country in the world better prepared than the United States to deal with” the Ebola crisis.
Pfeiffer said that the White House is constantly evaluating the situation and that President Obama is ”focused on this every day.”