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Dallas Patient Told Hospital During First Visit He Was Visiting From Liberia

[For Thursday Ebola updates, click here.] The sister of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States says he told officials the first time he went to the Dallas hospital that he was visiting from Liberia.

The sister tells The Associated Press that the man went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Friday and was sent away with antibiotics. He returned two days later to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and was admitted.

Dr. Mark Lester, executive vice president with Texas Health, confirmed Wednesday that a nurse asked the man on his first visit whether he had been in an area affected by the Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands in West Africa but that the "information was not fully communicated throughout the whole team."

The patient told the nurse he had traveled from Africa.

“That nurse was part of a care team and it was a complex care team taking care of him in the emergency department,” Lester told reporters. “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated to the full team. As a result, the full import of that information wasn’t factored into the clinical decision making.”

The disease is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.

[For Thursday Ebola updates, click here.]

3:30 p.m. Wednesday: CDC officials arrive in Dallas

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a 10-person team has arrived in Dallas to help investigate the Ebola patient.

CDC officials said in a statement Wednesday that three senior scientists, five epidemic intelligence service officers, a public health adviser and a communications officer have been sent from Atlanta to Dallas to work with local and state officials.

Officials say the CDC experts will help Texas authorities find, assess and help anyone who came into contact with the patient between the time he started showing symptoms and the time he was placed in isolation.

Officials say the team is interviewing the patient and close contacts to get more details on his travel history and more. 

12:35 p.m. Wednesday:  Five Dallas ISD students could have been in touch with Ebola patient

Five Dallas ISD students who attended four schools possibly had contact with the Ebola patient over the weekend at a home. They attend Conrad High, Tasby Middle School, Rogers Elementary and Hotchkiss Elementary.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles addressed the media at a press conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News
Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles addressed the media at a press conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

They have no symptoms of any health problems. They are at home, Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles said.

Dallas County health officials informed Dallas ISD of the news this morning. 

The news was announced at a press conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where a man with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. remains in isolation.

Gov. Rick Perry spoke at noon. He was joined by Dr. David Lakey, who's commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and county and medical officials were on hand.

Some school-aged children have had contact with the Ebola patient and are being monitored at home, Gov. Rick Perry said at the press conference.

“Let me assure you that the children have been identified and are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms,” Perry said. “I have full confidence in the medical professionals and [Dallas ISD] Superintendent Miles and local and our state partners in keeping this contained.

Here's a note that went out to parents of Rogers Elementary. 

"It is also important to know that individuals are not contagious until symptoms appear. Because of this, there is no imminent danger to your child," principal Lisa Lovato wrote. Rogers Elementary Letter Regarding Child Who May Have Had Contact With Ebola Patient

Here's video of the governor's press conference from PBS:

11:22 a.m., Wednesday: "This can be contained," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says

Texas Lt.Gov.DavidDewhurstappeared on CNN a few minutes ago to discuss the state’s response to the Ebola virus.

“This can be contained,” he said. “We’re all concerned. But at the same time, that’s why a big effort is underway to monitor [people in direct contact with the patient] to keep this contained. We have the resources to keep this contained.”

He stressed the patient is in isolation and the rest of Texas Health Presbyterian is being protected.

“Asthe head of the CDC said we should be ablebelto contain this and keep it to one person or maybe some in the family,”Dewhursttold CNN. “But, right now, there’s only one confirmed case of Ebola.”

Norman Seals, assistant Dallas Fire-Rescue chief, told CNN about how the city ambulance responded to the patient on Sunday when he was taken to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Paramedics asked the patient if he had traveled recently – they noted in their paperwork that the patient had come from Liberia, Seals told CNN.

The paramedics are now at home for self-monitoring “in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Seals said. The employees tested negative for Ebola.

The ambulance was taken out of service to be decontaminated, “in accordance with national standards,” Seals said.

“We’ve trained medics to be on the lookout for this,” he said.

The patient was listed in serious condition Wednesday. 

11:12 a.m. Liberian community reactsThe Associated Press reports: Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth, said the 10,000-strong Liberian population in North Texas is skeptical of the CDC's assurances because Ebola has ravaged their country.

The CDC has not advised that people avoid large gatherings in this country.

The association's vice president warned against alarm in the community.

"We don't want to get a panic going," said vice president Roseline Sayon. "We embrace those people who are coming forward. Don't let the stigma keep you from getting tested."

10:17 a.m. Wednesday: Dallas-Fire Rescue crew tests negative for Ebola

Three members of the ambulance crew that transported the man diagnosed with Ebola to Texas Health Presbyterian have tested negative for the virus and are restricted to their homes as health officials monitor their conditions.

Blood work shows no evidence of Ebola, the city said via its official Twitter feed.

City officials say the Dallas Fire-Rescue EMS crew was tested Tuesday night and sent home. They have not exhibited any symptoms of the virus.


The man diagnosed with Ebola was vomiting when the ambulance arrived, said Sana Syed, a Dallas city spokeswoman.

The ambulance crew is among 12 to 18 people health officials are monitoring because they were exposed to the man. Some are members of his family, but not all.

10:05 a.m. Wednesday: Governor to speak about Ebola at noon

Gov. Rick Perry has scheduled a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where a man with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. remains in isolation.

Perry plans to speak at noon today. He'll be joined by Dr. DavidLakey, who's commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Medical officials on Tuesday confirmed that the critically ill patient has tested positive for Ebola. He recently flew from Liberia to Dallas to be with relatives.

Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to help locate his family, friends or others who came in contact with the sick man.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has activated the emergency's operations center at Dallas City Hall.

We plan on streaming Perry’s conference live here on We’ll also update this post throughout the day.

10:02 a.m. Wednesday: Emergency management center activated

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has activated a city emergency management center after a patient was confirmed with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S.

Rawlings said Wednesday that city officials are cooperating with Dallas County officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to determine who's been in contact with the man.

The city notes in a press release that it’s on “Level 2: High Readiness.”

Medical experts on Tuesday confirmed the diagnosis of the man who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas. The critically ill patient, whose name wasn't released, has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday.

Officials have not made public where the man was staying in Dallas before he sought medical care.

Ebola is believed to have sickened more than 6,500 people in West Africa. More than 3,000 deaths have been linked to the disease.

What happened

Read more about Tuesday's developments here.

The patient, a man, left Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the U.S. to visit family in Texas on Sept. 20, CDC officials say. He showed no symptoms when leaving Liberia or when he arrived in the U.S. 

Last Wednesday, he started showing symptoms. He sought care on Friday and was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas on Sunday. The hospital announced Monday night that the patient was being tested for Ebola. A blood sample arrived at a state of Texas lab Tuesday morning. A sample also arrived at the CDC. 

As of Tuesday, the patient was "critically ill," CDC officials say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus, the first case to be diagnosed in the United States.
Flickr / americannurseproject
A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus, the first case to be diagnosed in the United States.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees , the station’s news website, and manages the station's . He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Doualy Xaykaothao
Associated Press