Ebola is now officially spreading in the US, after a Texas health care worker tested positive for the virus today.
The worker had been treating Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas hospital, a statement from the Texas health services department confirmed.
It marks the first time someone has contracted the deadly virus on US soil.
Dr. David Lakey from the Texas health department said:
We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility.We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.
The unnamed patient reported a “low grade fever” on Friday, before testing positive for the disease by late Saturday night.
He had been treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US. Duncan died last week in the Dallas hospital.
Health officials identified 10 people, including seven health workers, who had direct contact with Duncan – although it has been suggested as many as 80 other people may have come into contact with him.
It is not yet known if the diagnosed health worker is one of the seven health workers identified.
Last week the White House insisted Ebola was unlikely to spread in the US, claiming the risk of contagion was lower than flu.
A statement said:
Despite the tragic epidemic in West Africa, US health professionals agree it is highly unlikely that we would experience an Ebola outbreak here in the United States, given our robust health care infrastructure and rapid response capabilities.
According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola has killed over 3,800 people worldwide. Click here to read our breakdown of where Ebola has spread to so far.