East Texas health officials on alert after Ebola case in Dallas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas health officials on alert after Ebola case in Dallas

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

East Texas Health officials are on high alert after the Center for Disease Control confirmed an Ebola case in Dallas late Tuesday afternoon.

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said the patient is being kept in isolation until preliminary results come back Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative.

Hospital officials said in a statement that the latest patient's symptoms and recent travel indicated a possible case of Ebola. The virus has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who traveled to that region.

The main concern for east Texans is the region's close proximity to international airports in Houston and Dallas.

“Many hospitals are using a criteria when someone comes in,” said Angelina County and Cities Heal District Director Sharon Shaw. “First thing they are going to ask is if you've had foreign and that indicates a variety of things. It could be a mosquito-born illness. It could be something from Africa similar to Ebola. We even had measles outbreaks that were transferred from out of the country."

Shaw said the region has been monitoring the situation for months and has been in close talks with health officials on many levels.

"For the last two months, we've gotten reports from the Texas Dept. of State Health Services, and then I make a point to send those to our infection control partners at Memorial and Woodland Heights and our outlying hospitals as well,” Shaw said.

Hospitals have also been training their staff.

"We have educated our staff and given the knowledge they need to identify the symptoms of this disease, and then we also have ways to take precautions,” said Jackie Laird, Director of Emergency Services for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.

Laird said she does not believe an outbreak is imminent and that there are other viruses that can cause serious problems for East Texans.

"You are much more likely to see an outbreak of the flu virus,” Laird said. “That's a much more probable virus that we will see locally than Ebola.”

Officials say education is also important, and they urge for residents to follow guidelines put out by the CDC.

Those can be found here.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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