First Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S.

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A patient being treated at a hospital in Dallas, Texas is the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States since the beginning of the latest epidemic.

The CDC says the adult man developed symptoms days after flying to Texas from West Africa.

Ebola does not spread through the air, like measles or the flu, and it's not contagious until an infected person starts showing symptoms.

Because the man did not have a fever on the plane or in the airport, the director of the CDC said he's not worried that others on his flight will become sick.

"The bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country. It is certainly possible that people who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here," says Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Investigators said man left the country of Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20.  His symptoms did not appear until four days afterward. Because he was recently in a part of Africa that has the disease, the man was admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation even before the official diagnosis.

The CDC said symptoms might not appear until two to 21 days after a person is infected.

Because the man was staying with family and not in a hotel, officials say there is a very short list of other people under observation who could have potentially picked up the disease.

So far, the virus has killed more than 3,000 people in Africa, which represents almost half of the number who have contracted the disease. American hospitals are confident that they can keep the virus from spreading here because they are much better equipped to isolate and deal with infections than the countries where the epidemic started.

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