The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been under constant pressure, its director said on Sunday, as concerned citizens flooded the agency with hundreds of calls daily about the deadly illness that has infected a Dallas man who came back from West Africa. Authorities are now searching for a homeless man who is believed to have had contact with the Dallas Ebola patient and is currently missing.
Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, told reporters during a news conference on Sunday that their average of 50 phone calls per day had now increased to around 800 per day, all concerning Ebola. However, he assured his audience that the U.S. would, without a doubt, stop the disease in its tracks.
While the Dallas man who contracted the disease, Thomas Eric Duncan, has taken a turn for the worse (doctors say his state is critical), CDC experts are still pursuing all avenues to ensure the safety of the population. Dr. Frieden noted during a briefing that Duncan had not received, to his knowledge, any type of experimental medicine, which has proven effective in some of the other American Ebola patients.
Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, was also present at the news conference and told reporters that authorities had been searching for an individual who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. According to him, authorities are:
“Working to locate the individual and get him to a comfortable, compassionate place where we can monitor him and care for his every need for the full incubation period.”
Judge Jenkins also made it clear that the person hadn’t committed any crime, even though he went missing while being monitored, on Saturday.
Officials have already assessed 114 people believed to have had contact with Duncan, Dr. Frieden said. Only ten people were identified to have had direct contact with the Ebola patient: seven healthcare workers as well as three other family members or community contacts. Another 38 individuals could not be ruled out by authorities, and will be included in a 21 day isolation attempt to ensure that symptoms don’t arise.
“That is how we stopped every outbreak in the world with Ebola,”
Since Duncan’s diagnosis, there haven’t been any cases in Texas suggesting Ebola and no one has reported symptoms matching the illness, Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Service said. He noted that the state was still being
“Very cautious to make sure we care for individuals and monitor the situation the way it needs to be done.”
What is most worrisome, however, is that the few experimental drugs that could have given patients some hope, have run out:
“The most promising drug, ZMapp — there’s no more of it, and it’s hard to make, it takes months to make just a bit.”
Frieden said during a television show.