No Evidence of Ebola Exposure in Akron or Cleveland as of October 15, 2014

Questions on Ebola Exposure in Akron or Cleveland

[NOTE: This is an update from our original post earlier on 10.15.14]

Many of you have contacted our office with questions and concerns regarding the recent Ebola news. We appreciate that you have reached out to us for information and support during this time. 

It was reported on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, that the second health care worker in Dallas to come up positive for Ebola virus infection was in the Cleveland area a few days ago.

At this time, there is no evidence that this person exposed anyone to her Ebola infection in the NE Ohio region.

Here is what we know.

September 28, 2014
The second health care worker, who I will refer to as Ms. SW (second worker), was exposed to a contagious patient with Ebola virus infection on September 28, while caring for the patient in the Dallas hospital.

September 28 -October 12, 2014

Ms. SW felt perfectly well and had no fever or sense of being ill.
Ms. SW was in the Akron/Cleveland area during some of this time.

October 13, 2014
Ms. SW flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Frontier AIrlines #1143 which landed in Dallas at 8:16 PM.
She is now known to have had a fever while on this flight.

October 15, 2014
It was reported that after getting ill, Ms. SW was tested for Ebola infection and found to be positive.

1.  Ebola, to the best of our knowledge, is not contagious until symptoms such as fever appear.  That means if you spend time with someone with Ebola virus infection before they get sick, you cannot catch Ebola virus from them.

2.  Since Ms. SW had a fever on October 13, she was possibly contagious during her flight.   Anytime prior to her getting symptoms, such as fever, she was not contagious, and contact with her prior to onset of symptoms should not lead to catching the Ebola virus.

3.  All the passengers on Flight #1143 of Frontier AIrlines Ms. SW was on are being evaluated, since they were in the airplane with while she had symptoms.

4.  Ebola virus is contagious only by contact, NOT by breath.  So one would have to be touching Ms. SW in some way, have actual physical contact sometime after she got symptoms, that is, sometime October 13 or later, to be at risk.

4.  ANYONE who is concerned that they may have been in contact with Ms. SW on the flight on October 13 or later, should call the CDC HOTLINE at 1-800-232-4636.

My impression, at this time, is that this second health care worker from Dallas, who spent time in Akron/Cleveland, is likely not to have spread her Ebola virus infection while in Akron/Cleveland, unless someone was actually in physical contact with her around October 13.    To be clear, if someone did have physical contact and did so while she was contagious, they may have been infected with Ebola virus, but that person could not spread it until they developed symptoms.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.  We understand the anxiety and fear that this Ebola outbreak is causing here in Northeast Ohio, as well as nationwide. We endeavor to be a voice of knowledge and reason and will keep you updated on the most recent facts and concerns as they become available. We appreciate your trust in our opinions regarding this issue. 

Again, any questions on worries about exposure to this person should be directed to the CDC at 1-800-232-4636.

Dr. Lavin

*Disclaimer* The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.

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