A Massachusetts doctor who recovered from Ebola is again hospitalized, this time with a respiratory infection apparently unrelated to the disease he contracted as a missionary in Africa, his physician said.
UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., Says Richard Sacra was hospitalized Saturday in stable condition with a cough and pinkeye.
Robert Finberg, who is leading Sacra’s medical team, says “it is highly unlikely” the Ebola has returned. He said Sacra will remain in isolation until doctors have confirmation he is not infected with the virus, probably in a day or two.
Sacra returned home Sept. 25 after weeks of treatment at a Nebraska hospital.
Finberg said the public is not at risk, an issue stressed by health authorities elsewhere this weekend.
“The people who are being monitored are people just like your family,” Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins said at a Saturday update hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There is a lot of misinformation and erroneous fear. … The people that are being monitored are real people, too — that need your prayers.”.
Fear is on the rise across the country as universities and local governments take precaution. The CDC has investigated more than 100 Ebola scares in 33 states in just the first four days of October, the agency said.
In Washington, D.C., Two people were hospitalized in isolation units before being declared Ebola-free.
In Marietta, Ga., A Cobb County Jail inmate tested negative for Ebola after displaying flu-like symptoms. Because he had recently traveled to West Africa, he was isolated and given a series of tests.
The CDC ruled out Ebola after a man and his daughter were taken off United Flight 998 at Newark Airport on Saturday by health officials in full hazmat gear.
Meanwhile, the only known Ebola patient on U.S. Soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, is in critical condition at an intensive care unit in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He previously had been listed in “serious but stable” condition.
“He is ill,” says David Lakey, commissioner of health at the Texas Department of Health. “Our prayers and our thoughts are with him right now.”.
Liberian authorities said they plan to prosecute Duncan when he returns home for allegedly lying on his airport departure screening questionnaire about whether he had had contact with a person infected with the virus. Duncan had helped a sick pregnant woman into a cab — but it is not clear whether he knew she had Ebola.
The family living in the Dallas apartment where Duncan got sick was moved to a private residence in a gated community, and a hazardous materials crew decontaminated their apartment, city officials said.
The treatment of the family drew criticism when they were quarantined in an apartment with Duncan’s contaminated belongings for days before a hazardous materials crew arrived Friday to bag up and sanitize the materials.
Lakey says no additional Ebola cases have been reported, and that all people who have had contact with Duncan have been identified.
Dallas County and CDC epidemiologists narrowed the list of people who may have had contact with Duncan and are being monitored from 114 to 50. Only nine of those contacts are considered high risk.
Contributing: John Bacon; Associated Press.