Amid the news that two patients– one in New Mexico and one in California– are currently being tested for Ebola in hospitals due to matching symptoms, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that there have been “at least 68″ such scares in the past three weeks.
ABC News reports that the CDC has received alerts from hospitals in 27 states suggesting that patients arriving are exhibiting symptoms that match those of contracting the Ebola virus (including fever, vomiting, and diarrhea). ABC describes the alerts as resulting from “an abundance of caution,” and notes that the CDC deemed 58 of the cases “false alarms.”
The CDC determines whether a case is a “false alarm” by interviewing relatives and friends and gathering information on whether the patient could have been exposed to Ebola by traveling to Ebola-stricken areas, working in affected medical institutions, or interacting with Ebola patients. Those who are determined to have had no exposure to Ebola, ABC News explains, are then tested for other illnesses and taken off the Ebola threat list.
The ten other cases the CDC mentions were designated significant enough to require extra testing, and blood samples were sent to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta. Seven of these tested negative, and three are awaiting results.
Of the known cases, the most prominent are in New Mexico and California. In New Mexico, a woman who works as a teacher in Sierra Leone arrived at University of New Mexico Hospital with sore throat, headache, muscle ache, and fever. She was tested for Ebola “out of an abundance of caution” but is not believed to have been exposed to the virus.
In California, an unidentified patient is being tested for the virus at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. The center did not release any identifying characteristics about the patient, or why it is believed he or she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. It is not yet publicly known whether the patient recently traveled to West Africa.
The Ebola virus is currently ravaging four countries in West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria. The virus arrived in Nigeria via a Liberian public official named Patrick Sawyer, who died of Ebola in the airport at Lagos, a city of 21 million people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the official death toll in Africa has reached 1,200, though has warned that the official numbers may be “vastly underestimated” given the two-to-three-week incubation period of the virus and the lack of infrastructure to treat Ebola victims or catalogue them in affected nations’ rural areas.
The WHO has also suggested that airlines and airports, particularly those with the most contact to the affected areas, screen passengers traveling through West Africa for the virus. When contacted by Breitbart News, neither the CDC nor air travel federal agencies FAA and TSA answered questions as to what precautions American airports are taking to prevent Ebola from reaching the United States.