by Michaeleen Doucleff
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first case of Ebola has appeared in the U.S.
A man in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, the agency says. The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned. He wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.
He first developed symptoms on Wednesday, Sept. 24, according to the CDC, and first sought care on Friday. On Sunday, he was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Health officials have already started searching for people who may have come into close contact with the man. Ebola isn't contagious until a person starts showing symptoms. And the virus is spread only through direct contact of bodily fluids
This isn't the first time somebody has been treated for Ebola in the U.S. Several American aid workers in recent months caught the virus while working in West Africa and were flown back to the U.S. for treatment.
But it's the first time the disease has been detected in a person in the U.S. The CDC is sending a team to Dallas to work with state and local health officials.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to grow rapidly. As of Thursday, there have been more 6,500 cases across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. More 3,000 people have died of the disease, the World Health Organization says.
Infectious diseases experts have predicted for weeks that a few Ebola cases would likely get imported into the U.S. And hospitals around the country have been preparing to detect and treat such a case.
Because Ebola only spreads through body fluids, officials have said that any case like this will likely be quickly identified and contained, and not lead to a widespread outbreak like the one happening now in West Africa.
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