DALLAS — Due to close contact with a patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus, a second person is under the close monitoring of health officials as a possible second patient, said the director of Dallas County's health department Wednesday morning in an interview with WFAA.
Zachary Thompson, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, says all those who've been in close contact with the diagnosed patient are being monitored as a precaution. However, Thompson pointed to one person in particular as a potential second case.
"Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents, the fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient," he said in a Wednesday interview with WFAA. "... So this is real. There should be a concern, but it's contained to the specific family members and close friends at this moment."
The director continued to assure residents that the public isn't at risk as health officials have the virus contained.
Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control confirmed a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas was the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States.
The patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in Dallas the following day. On September 26, he sought treatment at the hospital after becoming ill but was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics. Two days later, he was admitted with more critical symptoms, after requiring an ambulance ride to the hospital.
Local health officials say the patient was in contact with several children before he was hospitalized. Thompson says each of those children have been kept home and are under precautionary monitoring.
The Dallas County school district says they're working closely with health officials.
"DISD is in contact with Dallas County Health Department regarding the Ebola investigation," read a statement from Jon Dahlander, a spokesman with the district. "They are consulting with the County on any additional action that may need to be taken during the course of investigation. This is part of routine emergency operations during a health incident in the county. This is same protocol taken during things like flu and Tuberculosis cases."