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Ebola strikes relatives of Dallas/Fort Worth residents

First U.S. case diagnosed in Dallas

DENISE JOHNSON STOVALL | 10/3/2014, 6:04 p.m. | Updated on 10/7/2014, 1:32 p.m.
On Tuesday, Dallas health officials diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States, and the first case of ...
The Liberian Community Association prepares to take supplies and funds to help combat the Ebola virus in Africa. Liberian Community Association

Special to The Dallas Examiner

On Tuesday, Dallas health officials diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States, and the first case of this strain of the virus outside of Africa. The unidentified man is being treated in an isolated area in the intensive care unit at Texas Health Presbyterian.

He came to North Texas from Liberia, Africa, to visit family members, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who emphasizes that the general public is in no immediate danger. The CDC will release more information as it becomes necessary, to prevent widespread panic.

The city of Dallas has activated their Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness. Furthermore, the Dallas Fire Rescue EMS crew that transported the patient Sunday morning took all safety precautions and have been quarantined according to CDC and Dallas County Health guidelines, according to Dallas officials.

The Ebola virus originated from the Yambuku area near Zaire’s Ebola River in Africa. It was first identified in 1976. The countries most affected by the virus are Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

“I think that all Americans should know about the Ebola virus, not just African Americans, since the United States has the largest social media network in the world,” said Albert B. Travell of Arlington.

The expression on his face becomes solemn when asked about the Ebola virus and how it has touched his family. In July, seven of his family members died from the virus.

Travell came to the United States in 1976 on a student visa. He is now employed by the Federal Aviation Administration as an engineering technician at the Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center. However, he still has family back home; too close to the spread of the Ebola virus.

“The daughters of my brother were preparing a body for a funeral and became ill,” Travell revealed. He explained that his nieces might have been using the same eating utensils while they were caring for the person who died.

“My family thought the deceased passed away from malaria. They didn’t realize the person died from Ebola virus,” he continued.

The name “Ebola” comes from the name “Ebola River” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly called Zaire) where the first documented outbreak was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan in 1976. It’s a very contagious illness that is often fatal in humans and nonhuman primates.

The disease is transmitted through body fluids, but is not highly contagious until symptoms present themselves – the greater the symptoms the more risk of transmission of the virus, according to the CDC.

Some symptoms are fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, internal and external bleeding, rash and sore throat. The Ebola virus can be acquired through: fruit bats as carriers and human infection through blood, sex and contact wtih bodily fluids. In 1976, Yambuka had 318 cases of persons with the Ebola virus and 280 deaths. Ebola has caused the most deaths in 2014.