By Manny Fernandez
DALLAS — A health care worker here who helped treat the Liberian man who died last week of the Ebola virus has tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, state health officials said Sunday.
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
The worker, who was not identified, was an employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas E. Duncan, died last week.
The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. Officials interviewed the worker and were identifying “any contacts or potential exposures,” the statement read.
The preliminary test was done at the state public-health lab in Austin and the positive result was received late Saturday, officials said. Other tests will be done by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mr. Duncan left Liberia on Sept. 19 on a flight to United States. He landed in Dallas on Sept. 20 and first went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital feeling ill on Sept. 25. He was released by the hospital, which had failed to view him as a potential Ebola case for reasons that remain unclear, and returned Sept. 28 after his condition worsened.
Health officials have been monitoring 48 people who had contact with Mr. Duncan while he was infectious, including four people who shared an apartment with him and medical workers who treated him. It is unclear whether the latest patient is one of those being monitored.
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