Health officials confirmed that a patient in Dallas was diagnosed with Ebola about a week after arriving from Liberia to visit family on Sept. 20. The patient was placed in isolation Sept. 28, but may have exposed five school age children in the days between arriving in Texas and being isolated.
“There is no doubt in my mind we will stop it here," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said at a news conference.
Ebola has killed 3,338 people and infected 3,840 others since the outbreak began in March, making it the worst outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. More people have died from Ebola in the last seven months than in every other Ebola outbreak to date combined, according to data from the World Health Organization.
Although those who have received care on American soil have generally fared well, WHO officials have said that the world needs to do more to stop the outbreak in Africa and keep it from expanding.
The CDC warned that the outbreak could reach 1.4 million cases by the end of January without proper intervention. But with additional resources and intervention, the outbreak could be over by about the same time, the agency said.
Here’s what you need to know about the Ebola virus..
What are the first symptoms?
• Joint and muscle aches
• Stomach pain
• Lack of appetite
• A Rash
• Red Eyes
• Sore throat
• Chest pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Difficulty swallowing
• Bleeding inside and outside of the body
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.
Some who become sick with Ebola HF are able to recover, while others do not. The reasons behind this are not yet fully understood. However, it is known that patients who die usually have not developed a significant immune response to the virus at the time of death.
What Is Ebola?
The Ebola virus is as a group of viruses that cause a deadly kind of hemorrhagic fever. The term "hemorrhagic fever" means it causes bleeding inside and outside the body. The virus has a long incubation period of approximately eight to 21 days. Early symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, sore throat and headaches.
As the disease progresses, the virus can impair kidney and liver function and lead to external and internal bleeding. It’s one of the most deadly viruses on Earth with a fatality rate that can reach between approximately 50 to 90 percent. There is no cure.
How Is It Transmitted?
The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until he or she starts showing signs of the disease.
Thankfully, the virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.
Where Did the Virus Come From?
The dangerous virus gets its name from the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was near the site of one of the first outbreaks. The virus was first reported in 1976 in two almost simultaneous outbreaks in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They killed 151 and 280 people, respectively.
Certain bats living in tropical African forests are thought to be the natural hosts of the disease. The initial transmission of an outbreak usually results from a wild animal infecting a human, according to the WHO. Once the disease infects a person, it is easily transmissible between people in close contact.
Until this outbreak, approximately 2,361 people had been infected since the disease was identified in 1976. More than 1,548 of those infected died from it.
Who Is At Risk?
The virus is not airborne, which means those in close contact can be infected and are most at risk. A person sitting next to an infected person, even if they are contagious, is not extremely likely to be infected.
Health workers and caregivers of the sick are particularly at risk for the disease because they work in close contact with infected patients during the final stages of the disease when the virus can cause internal and external bleeding.
In this outbreak alone, more than 100 health workers have been infected and at least 50 of them have died, according to the WHO.
The deadly Ebola virus has arrived in the United States with the first diagnosis on American soil this week, bringing national attention back to the outbreak that has ravaged West Africa.