CDC Counts 68 Ebola Scares in United States

The virus has claimed more than 1,200 lives in the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.

A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer. To date, there have been 635 cases of haemorrhagic fever in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, most confirmed as Ebola. A total of 399 people have died, 280 of them in Guinea. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI 
National Journal
David Ludwig, The Wire
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David Ludwig, The Wire
Aug. 21, 2014, 6:39 a.m.

Over the last three weeks, 68 people have been tested for the Ebola vir­us in the United States, the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol told ABC News.

Ac­cord­ing to the CDC, the vir­us has claimed more than 1,200 lives in the West Afric­an na­tions of Guinea, Si­erra Le­one, Liber­ia, and Ni­ger­ia since the out­break began. Des­pite re­cent scares, there has yet to be a con­firmed case of Ebola in the U.S.

Two pa­tients who health of­fi­cials have de­scribed as ‘low risk’ are cur­rently be­ing held in New Mex­ico and Cali­for­nia hos­pit­als await­ing their of­fi­cial test res­ults. Yes­ter­day, WSB-TV At­lanta re­por­ted that a loc­al man tested neg­at­ive for the vir­us.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­iz­a­tion the ini­tial symp­toms of Ebola can be high fever, weak­ness, muscle pain, head­ache, sore throat, vomit­ing, and diarrhea. Pos­sible dia­gnos­is’ of these symp­toms in­clude mal­aria, typhoid fever, chol­era, men­ingit­is, hep­at­it­is, re­lapsing fever, lepto­spiros­is, rick­ett­si­o­s­is and “vir­al haem­or­rhagic fevers,” which range from mild vir­uses to life threat­en­ing dis­eases.

In ad­di­tion to the broad early symp­toms that Ebola pa­tients will of­ten ex­per­i­ence, the CDC notes that pa­tients likely wouldn’t qual­i­fy for test­ing un­less they’ve been in re­cent con­tact with the blood or oth­er bod­ily flu­ids of someone who has the vir­us.

Once the CDC has spoken with a hos­pit­al and de­term­ined that someone is at risk, the pa­tient is quar­ant­ined and a blood sample is sent to an agency lab for test­ing.

CDC spokes­wo­man Kristen Nord­lund told ABC News that the CDC works closely with hos­pit­als and clin­ics to de­term­ine wheth­er or not the pa­tient should be tested, a pro­cess that likely weeds out those with com­mon vir­uses from po­ten­tial car­ri­ers.

“If some­body had traveled to Guinea and came back and had a fever and has nev­er been to a place where Ebola is trans­mit­ted, there’s no reas­on to sus­pect there’s Ebola just be­cause Ebola is cir­cu­lat­ing in Guinea,” Nord­lund said on Wed­nes­day.

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