Five students at four different schools have come in contact with the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. No kids are sick, but they are being monitored at home for symptoms of the disease by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department. The students are being advised to stay home as a precaution.
The news was announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon lead by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
.@DallasSchools: "Since the students are not presenting any symptoms, there is nothing to suggest that the disease was spread to others."— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) October 1, 2014
The children are among 12 to 18 people currently being monitored – not quarantined – after coming in contact with the patient, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services’s Dr. Perkins. Authorities say the ambulance crew who transported the man and members of his family are also being monitored for symptoms.
A nine-member group of federal health officials was tracking anyone who had close contact with the patient. The team from the Centers for Disease Control was in Dallas to work with local and state health agencies to ensure that those people are watched every day for 21 days.
“If anyone develops fever, we’ll immediately isolate them to stop the chain of transmission,” Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said in an interview.
In the same press conference, a hospital epidemiologist explained that contact is not the same as exposure. The World Health Organization says the time between possible infection and development of symptoms is 2 to 21 days.
There is “zero chance of people being contaminated,” at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said.
Science says if you are not showing symptoms of this disease there is a ZERO chance of transmitting ebola stated Mayor @Mike_Rawlings.— DallasMayor's Office (@dallasmayorsofc) October 1, 2014
A public education effort will be launched to address concerns in the Dallas area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.