The last person — a hospital worker who handled medical waste on Oct. 17 — being monitored in connection with the state's three diagnosed Ebola patients was cleared from twice-daily monitoring on Nov. 7, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The hospital worker had reached the 21-day mark, the longest incubation period for the disease.
That means there were no community-acquired Ebola infections in Dallas. DSHS says no additional cases of the disease have been diagnosed in Texas.
A total of 177 people — a mix of health care workers, household contacts, and community members — were monitored over time because they had contact with at least one of the three Texas Ebola patients, specimens, or medical waste.
"We're happy to reach this milestone, but our guard stays up," said David Lakey, MD, DSHS commissioner. "We reached this point through teamwork and meticulous monitoring, and we'll continue to be vigilant to protect Texas from Ebola."
DSHS reports health officials continue to monitor all travelers who return to Texas from countries with widespread Ebola outbreaks.
Meanwhile, TMA has been busy providing Ebola virus information and resources to Texas physicians.
The TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases urges physicians to study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for personal protective equipment and environmental infection control measures in ambulatory settings. Physicians can also contact their local health department or regional health office and the DSHS Infectious Disease Control Unit at (800) 252-8239 for further instructions.
TMA also has developed patient handouts — in English and in Spanish — and released a video, Why You're Not At All Very Likely to “Catch” Ebola, featuring Robert Haley, MD, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
For additional guidance on the virus, visit the TMA Ebola Virus Resource Center.
Action, Nov. 14, 2014