Report: Inmate At Cobb County Jail Being Tested For Ebola

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS Atlanta/AP) —  An inmate at the Cobb County Jail is reportedly being test for Ebola.

WSB-TV reports that the man told jail officials he recently traveled to Africa after developing a fever while in custody.

He was arrested overnight and charged with DUI.

The jail did stop accepting inmates for a time but that ban has been lifted, WGCL-TV reports.

The unnamed prisoner was transferred to another medical facility, according to WGCL.

The first Ebola diagnosis in the nation has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,300 people in West Africa could spread in the U.S. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.

Texas health officials expanded their efforts to contain the virus, reaching out to as many as 100 people who may have had direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan or someone close to him.

None has shown symptoms, but they have been told to notify medical workers if they begin to feel ill, said Erikka Neroes, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health and Human Services agency.

The at-risk group includes 12 to 18 people who had direct contact with the infected man, including an ambulance crew and a handful of schoolchildren. The others came into contact with that core group, she said.

“This is a big spider web” of people, Neroes said.

The virus that causes Ebola is not airborne and can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids — blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen — of an infected person who is showing symptoms. Those fluids must also have an entry point.

For example, people might get infected by handling soiled clothing or bed sheets and then touching their mouth, or if they are not wearing gloves while doing those tasks and have a cut on their hand.

Duncan’s neighbors in the Liberian capital believe he become infected when he helped a sick pregnant neighbor a few weeks ago. It was not clear if he had learned of the woman’s diagnosis before traveling.

Nonetheless, Liberian authorities announced plans to prosecute Duncan when he returns, accusing him of lying about not having any contact with an infected person.

Duncan filled out a form Sept. 19 about his health and activities before leaving for Dallas. Among other questions, the form asked whether Duncan had cared for an Ebola patient or touched the body of anyone who had died in an area affected by Ebola. He answered no to all the questions.

Frieden dismissed suggestions that people traveling from West Africa should not be allowed into the U.S.

“The fact is that if we tried to seal the border, it would not work because people are allowed to travel,” he told ABC. “It would backfire because it would make it harder to stop the outbreak.”

Duncan arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and fell ill a few days later. An emergency room sent Duncan home last week, even though he told a nurse he had been in West Africa.

In a statement issued late Thursday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said it followed communicable disease protocols by asking Duncan if he had come into contact with anyone who was ill. He replied that he had not.

A flaw in the electronic health records systems led to separate physician and nursing workflows, meaning the travel history documented by nurses was not passed onto physicians, hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said. He said the system has been corrected.

Duncan’s symptoms included a 100.1 F temperature, abdominal pain, a headache and decreased urination, the hospital said. He said he had no nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Based on that, the hospital decided to release him.

He returned two days later and has been kept in isolation since Sunday. Duncan was listed Thursday in serious but stable condition.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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