Dozens in Dallas Said to Be Free of Ebola Risk

October 20, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Dozens in Dallas Said to Be Free of Ebola Risk

While U.S. prepares tighter infection controls for Ebola patients

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Some good news arrived Monday on the Ebola front in the United States: Dozens of people who had contact with the Dallas patient who died earlier this month are no longer in danger of catching the disease, health officials said.

Those people include the fiancee and other family members of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian native who contracted the disease in his home country before arriving in Dallas last month.

Also cleared were the paramedics who drove Duncan to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 28 and health care workers who drew or processed his blood. And a mandatory quarantine was lifted for a homeless man who later rode in the same ambulance as Duncan before it was disinfected, The New York Times reported.

All told, the 21-day monitoring period ended Sunday and Monday for roughly 50 people, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials are planning to tighten recommendations for health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The new guidelines, which haven’t been formally unveiled, are expected to include recommendations for full-body suits and hoods “with no skin showing.” There will also be stricter rules for removing equipment and disinfecting hands, and the designation of a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment used while treating a patient, the Associated Press reported.

The revised guidelines are apparently in response to two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan, the first diagnosed case of the disease in the United States.

Health officials aren’t sure how the nurses became infected with the often deadly disease, which has decimated three West African nations since last spring.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the nurses caring for Duncan had some of their skin exposed, the AP reported.

“Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you’ve got to be completely covered. So, that’s going to be one of the things,” the news service quoted Fauci as saying.

Also Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a 30-member team of military personnel to assist civilian medical professionals in the United States if its assistance is needed to treat Ebola. The team will include doctors, nurses and infectious disease experts, the AP reported.

To date, there have been three cases of Ebola in the United States: the two nurses and Duncan.

Early Sunday morning, a cruise ship carrying a lab worker who was being monitored for Ebola because she’d handled a lab specimen from Duncan returned to its port in Galveston, Texas, cruise line officials said.

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