A health care worker who helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan earlier this week has preliminarily tested positive for the Ebola virus. If confirmatory tests administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also are positive, the new patient will be the first to contract Ebola on U.S. soil, The Associated Press reports.
"We knew a second case could be a reality, and we've been preparing for this possibility," Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said. "We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread."
The new patient's name and the capacity in which he or she provided treatment to Duncan was not immediately identified. Officials told AP that the patient was placed in isolation on Friday night after reporting a low-grade fever and undergoing preliminary testing. Health officials are now identifying any individuals the new patient may have come in contact with after his or her symptoms began.
Thomas Eric Duncan died last week at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas. He had left Liberia in mid-September and traveled to the United States to reunite with relatives, but he had been exposed to the Ebola virus while helping a pregnant neighbor in Liberia.