WASHINGTON (AFP) – The second infection of a health care worker who treated the United States’ first patient with Ebola has exposed a series of gaps in US preparedness for confronting the deadly virus.
President Barack Obama said last month that the United States was ready for the “unlikely event” that the hemorrhagic virus ravaging West Africa could make its way into the United States, and that any emergence would be quickly contained.
But when a Liberian man with a fever, body pains and recent history of travel to the country the worst hit by current epidemic first walked into a Dallas hospital on September 25, he was sent back home after about four hours.
That decision put other emergency room patients, the man’s family and hospital staff at risk of exposure to Ebola.
When he was rushed via ambulance back to that same hospital on September 28, vomiting and experiencing diarrhea which made him highly contagious, dozens of health care staff may have been infected by not adequately protecting themselves.