Thursday, 25 December 2014

CDC Ebola Worker Quarantined

A worker at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has been placed in quarantine after potentially being exposed to live Ebolavirus. The technician was quarantined on December 24th and will be kept under observation for 21 days – the virus’ known incubation period – for symptoms of infection.

[caption id="attachment_39" align="alignleft" width="300"]Largest outbreak since 1976 Under the electron microscope: Ebola. Image by Cynthia Goldsmith of CDC. CC2.0.[/caption]

The incident occurred on December 22nd when a live strain of the deadly virus was mistakenly sent from a secure lab to another CDC lab for processing. Approximated 12 other people who entered the lab will also be monitored, but they are not thought to be at risk.

CDC Director Tom Frieden issued a statement saying “I am troubled by this incident in our Ebola research laboratory in Atlanta… We are monitoring the health of one technician who could possibly have been exposed and I have directed that there be a full review of every aspect of the incident… No risk to staff is acceptable.”

The current Ebola epidemic has seen four cases detected on US soil resulting in the death of Thomas Duncan who contracted the virus in Liberia. In total this Ebola epidemic has resulted in 19,465 cases and 7,580 deaths as of December 25th. The number of cases is, however, lower than World Health Organization (WHO) projections issued in October, suggesting the situation is slowly being brought under control. Recent statements from the WHO and CDC indicate that the crisis will not end under late-2015.

For more information on Ebola, see previous posts on this blog regarding virus profile, outbreak timeline, factbox, and interview with Dr Noel Murphy on the spread of Ebola in Africa.

Special thanks to Marc Healy for pointing me to the story and for the figures.

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