What Physicians Need to Know About Ebola in Dallas

On Oct. 8, Thomas Eric Duncan, the first known person to develop Ebola in the United States, died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Following the Sept. 30 announcement of his Ebola diagnosis, national, state, and local public health officials identified and began twice-a-day monitoring of 10 definite contacts and 38 possible contacts. So far, there have been no reports that any of those people have shown signs of the illness.

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Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner David Lakey, MD, released this statement about Mr. Duncan's passing:

“The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts. The doctors, nurses and staff at Presbyterian provided excellent and compassionate care, but Ebola is a disease that attacks the body in many ways. We’ll continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat.”

CDC Ebola symptoms infographic

Early symptoms of Ebola include sudden fever, fatigue, and headache. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. 

DSHS encourages health care professionals to ask patients about recent travel and consider Ebola in patients with fever and a history of travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and some parts of Nigeria within 21 days of the onset of symptoms. CDC says there is no risk of transmission from patients who have recovered from Ebola or from those who have been exposed to the virus but are not yet sick. Visit the CDC website for more information about the disease. 

"Ebola is a scary disease because of the severity of the illness that it causes," Dr. Frieden said. "We're stopping it in its tracks in this country."

In an open letter to Texans, Dr. Lakey added, "No response to an emergency situation is perfect, and there have been challenges. But this tried and true process is working in Dallas, too. The patient is getting excellent care in isolation, and we’re identifying everyone at risk of possible infection from exposure to this single case of Ebola to ensure no other Texans are exposed."


Action, Oct. 1, 2014
Updated Oct. 6, 2014

Last Updated On

June 17, 2016