DALLAS, Texas — Dallas Independent School District (ISD) broke the news about the second confirmed case of Ebola in the city limits to its families over the district’s online Health Updates on Sunday, October 12. The latest victim, Erin Pham, is a Texas Health care provider and 2010 Texas Christian University nursing grad. She treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the Ebola virus last week. Pham does not have children, which may minimize risks for the already Ebola affectedschools in the district; but she has a dog and no one knows for sure yet if she or the pup, now in quarantine, came in contact with any of the neighborhood school kids.
“Dallas ISD has been able to confirm that the healthcare provider does not have any children and the district has not been notified of any staff members or students having had contact with the healthcare provider. It is important to note that the Ebola virus can only be transmitted when an infected individual is exhibiting symptoms. The health care provider self-monitored twice daily and drove to the hospital upon exhibiting symptoms,” read the latest Health Update.
Dallas ISD continues to contact its parent population through the online update system. They also posted that the “healthcare provider who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Dallas patient who died of the Ebola virus last week, has tested positive for the virus on a preliminary test conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.”
Although the district has been reeling from the first confirmed U.S. case of Ebola locally, attendance rates have continued to inch back up to normal rates. The Dallas Morning News reported attendance at 94.5 percent on October 6th. Dallas ISD cited 96 percent attendance as normal. Previously, when news of the late Duncan’s Ebola broke, rates dipped down to 86 percent because of the fear over the Ebola victim coming into contact with five students in a variety of Dallas ISD schools as Breitbart Texas reported.
Those students have been placed on Homebound education study through their 21 day watch period to see if any develop signs or symptoms of Ebola.
So far, the news that the second victim, Pham, having no children has been good news. Potentially, it minimizes exposure of contact with youngsters in general, and may come as a welcome relief to the school district, although she has a dog that has been placed in isolation to see if it exhibits any symptoms of Ebola.
Breitbart Texas reported that the CDC cited studies of dogs as either carriers or sources of Ebola, although Fox News Health News Senior Managing Editor Dr. Manny Alvarez cautioned that although dogs can get Ebola, there are “no cases of Ebola spreading to people from dogs on record.”
However, Dallas ISD is not out of the woods yet.
Erikka Neroes from the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) told Breitbart Texas, “DCHHS is investigating who may have had contact with this patient. Numbers (if any) will be released when they are available.”
The Dallas ISD update also emphasized that the five ISD students who “were possibly exposed” to Duncan still show no signs or symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus. They are monitored twice daily. As the district has commented before, these in-home students will not return to school until they show no signs or symptoms of the Ebola virus for the 21 day watch period.
“According to the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC, if a person exposed to Ebola does not contract the virus within 21 days of exposure, it is definitive that they do not have the virus and therefore have a zero percent chance of contracting the virus (unless exposed again) or transmitting the virus to someone else,” the update also stated.
Dallas ISD is working hard to quell Ebola fears but the West African death sentence is not the only cause for concern. Enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) also known as Human Enterovirus 68 (HEV68) is another.
Right now, of the 14 confirmed cases of the severe respiratory virus that strikes children in Texas, half of them are in Dallas County where one Allen boy is among the 28 nationwide to experience uncharacteristic paralysis as part of the disease.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson told Breitbart Texas that on the Ebola and EV-D68 fronts the agency is “monitoring the situation and working through the governor’s office and with other state agencies on the issues.”
Likewise, Dallas ISD spokesman Andre Riley also told Breitbart Texas that “Dallas ISD places great emphasis on maintaining healthy and safe environments for students and staff members. We will continue to work with Dallas County Health and Human Services and other agencies to gather information about any potential health issues, how we can share relevant information about those issues with our community, and preventative steps we can take through our cleaning processes and other operations.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.