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First U.S. Ebola Patient Was Likely Exposed to General Public for Days

First U.S. Ebola Patient Was Likely Exposed to General Public for Days

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that the man who is the first confirmed case of Ebola in America had originally come to the hospital the previousThursday due to an unknown illness. The man was then sent home with a prescription for antibiotics and spent three days out in the general public before coming back to the Dallas hospital Sunday, when officials confirmed he had indeed contracted the Ebola virus.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said that the agency is trying to track down anyone who had been in contact with the man from Thursday to Sunday. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here,” Frieden said confidently at a press conference at CDC Headquarters in Atlanta.

Frieden continued: “Ebola doesn’t spread before someone gets sick, and he didn’t get sick until four days after he got off the airplane. So we don’t believe there was any risk to anyone on the flight at that time.”

The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has been moved to a strict isolation room within the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital’s intensive care unit. The man was said to be traveling to the United States to visit family and was believed to be staying with them, Bloomberg reported.

What remains unclear is if the patient had been working to contain the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. CDC director Frieden also declined to answer inquiries regarding the man’s nationality or where his recent travels have taken him.

U.S. officials did not reveal the flight path the Ebola patient took, though several reports have emerged showing Duncan traveled from Monrovia to Brussels, then to Dulles International Airport before Dallas.

The United States has recently committed some 1,400 troops to help combat Ebola in West Africa. Some have warned that U.S. service members are being put in grave danger by being sent to help stop the spread of the virus in Ebola-stricken areas.

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