According to a widely circulated report by ABC news, 68 individuals have been evaluated for the Ebola virus in the United States during the last three weeks by hospital and state labs—and no cases have been confirmed. Citing an interview with a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as its source, the network reported that 58 of the suspected cases were quickly judged to be false alarms. The other ten, reportedly, were forwarded to the CDC for testing; seven tested negative, and three results are pending.
ABC properly emphasized that the alerts to the CDC were made out of “an abundance of caution” and that there are no indications that any American, with the exception of the two healthcare workers who contracted the disease in Liberia and were brought back to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital for treatment, has Ebola. CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund made a salient point: Although a patient’s travel history and symptoms must be evaluated, “If someone had traveled to Guinea and came back and had a fever and has never been to a place where Ebola is transmitted, there’s no reason to suspect it’s Ebola just because Ebola is circulating in Guinea.” Many Americans were heartened to read such common sense, which is in refreshing contrast to wild comments by some irresponsible radio talk show hosts and bizarre conspiracy theories showing up in some online chat rooms.
In the meantime, yesterday Dr. Kent Brantley was released from Emory University Hospital. Nancy Writebol was released two days before. Both Americans have survived Ebola, and have rejoined their families. Read a Washington Post story on Brantley and Writebol’s illness, treatment, and recovery.