The man went to a Dallas emergency room on Friday, but was sent home with antibiotics, as Alastair Leithead reports

Children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, the governor of Texas has said.

At a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Rick Perry said the children were being monitored "at home" for symptoms.

The patient is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia before coming to the US nearly two weeks ago.

He is in a serious condition, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

Mr Perry said the school-age children identified as having contact with the patient were "now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease".

"Parents are extremely concerned about that development," Mr Perry said but emphasised the disease could not be transmitted before a patient showed signs of the disease.

Texas Governor Rick Perry: "I know that parents are extremely concerned"

The Texas governor said his state had the medical infrastructure to prevent an outbreak.

"There are few places in the world better equipped to meet the challenge that is posed in this case."

More than 3,000 people have already died of Ebola in West Africa and a small number of US aid workers have recovered after being flown to the US.

Meanwhile, in Liberia a government spokesman said the man showed no symptoms or fever as he was screened before departing the country.

"What this incident demonstrates is the clear international dimension of this Ebola crisis," Lewis Brown, the country's information minister, said in a statement.

imageLiberia has been worst affected by the Ebola outbreak which began in neighbouring Guinea

"For months, the Liberian government has been stressing that this disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem."

Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of the Liberia Airport Authority told the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia that screening procedures, which were instituted on 26 July, were "as best as they can humanely be".

Mr Kesselly said they had screened 10,000 passengers since July, but it would be "nearly impossible" to identify a person as infected with the Ebola virus if they were not showing symptoms.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden confirmed the Ebola case on Tuesday, saying the unnamed patient left Liberia on 19 September and arrived in the US the next day to visit relatives, without displaying any symptoms of the virus.

imageTexas Health Presbyterian Hospital says it was prepared for a potential case

Symptoms became apparent in the patient on 24 September, and on 28 September he was admitted to a Texas hospital and put in isolation.

The disease, which is not contagious until symptoms appear, is spread via close contact with bodily fluids.

The unnamed patient was described as critically ill on Tuesday, suggesting the hospital has upgraded his condition.

Health officials are working to identify all people who came into contact with the unnamed patient while he was infectious, including relatives and a "couple" of community members.

imageMore than 3,000 people have died in West Africa from Ebola, many in Liberia

Those people will then be monitored for 21 days to see if an Ebola-related fever develops.

But they will not be monitoring passengers on the man's flight, where Dr Frieden said there was "zero risk of transmission" as the man had been checked for fever before boarding.

According to Dr Frieden, it is possible a family member who came in direct contact with the patient may develop Ebola in the coming weeks.

But "the bottom line here is I have no doubt that we will control this importation, this case of Ebola, so it does not spread widely in this country," he added. "We will stop it here."

Bill Gates: "We have got to get medical personnel in there."

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told the CNN if the hospital learned of recent travel to Liberia it "would have been an enormous red flag for anybody".

A nurse had asked the patient on his first visit to the hospital if he had been in an area affected by the Ebola outbreak, but the "information was not fully communicated throughout the whole team", according to hospital officials.

The patient's sister told AP he was sent home with antibiotics the first time he went to hospital.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no proven vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

Ebola virus: Busting the myths

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