Texas Health Care Worker Tests Positive for Ebola -- Second Case in the U.S.

A Texas health care worker who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has reportedly tested positive for Ebola after a preliminary test. If this is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the worker will become the second person to ever be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first to contract it while in this country.

Doctors say they were expecting something like this might happen and, as a result, have taken quick action. The patient, whose name has not been released, reportedly came down with a low-grade fever on Friday. He was immediately placed into quarantine and tested. The very next day, the test came back as positive for Ebola.

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According to Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, health officials are working quickly to ensure the virus doesn't spread. Anyone who has had contact with the worker is being closely monitored, he says.

Ebola is spread through either direct contact with a sick person's bodily fluids or exposure to items that have been contaminated, such as needles. Patients are only contagious once they start experiencing symptoms, so let's hope this is what it sounds like -- a patient who was placed in isolation before he or she could spread the virus.

This scary news comes just days after Duncan reportedly died Wednesday morning at a Dallas hospital after he was administered the experimental drug brincidofovir. Duncan reportedly sought medical attention when he first developed symptoms in September, but doctors failed to test him for Ebola -- even though they knew he had traveled to Liberia -- and he was sent home from the hospital. For three days, he was in contact with others while reportedly contagious.

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Medical experts are reportedly closely monitoring anyone with whom he came into contact during the time before his isolation. In total, about 50 people are reportedly being closely watched.

This news certainly makes us feel uneasy, but it's important to remember that health experts are taking this very seriously and continue to insist that the risk to Americans is minimal.

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Image via CDC Global/Flickr

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