An ambulance crew that transported the first person diagnosed in the United States with the deadly Ebola virus to a Dallas hospital were placed in quarantine; the ambulance itself, however, remained in service for an additional two days.
The unnamed patient exhibited no signs of the disease when he boarded his flight from Liberia on Sept. 19, and arrived in the United States on the following day, according to CNN.
“But four or five days later,” he began to develop them and was transported to, hospitalized and isolated Sunday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
Crew members who transported the patient to the hospital have been isolated, the chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CNN. None have shown symptoms of the disease so far.
The ambulance that carried the patient – ambulance # 37 — was in use for two days after the transport but was adequately decontaminated, said Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed.
“I do want to stress that the paramedics followed national standards, as they do after each transport, in decontaminating the ambulance,” Syed said. “The Dallas County health department has confirmed that paramedics did follow proper guidelines to avoid contaminating additional patients.”
Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama downplayed any possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the United States, during an address at the CDC.
“First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low,” he said, according to the White House press office. “We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.”
“Increased screening at airports”? Not according to CNN “OutFront” anchor Erin Burnett, who tweeted:
Cnn crew returned from Liberia. US customs said “welcome home”. No check. Now ambulance used to move TX ebola patient used for 48hrs after.
— Erin Burnett (@ErinBurnett) October 1, 2014
Most replies went along the lines of this:
@ErinBurnett oh crap!!!!!!!!!
— Christine Stergiou (@ChristineStergi) October 1, 2014
But on a darkly humorous note, another Twitter user made reference to the 1995 film “Outbreak,” and asked:
@ErinBurnett was there a really cute monkey hiding in anyones luggage?
— jash (@jashsf) October 1, 2014