NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Five Children Being Monitored For Ebola After Coming Into Contact With Patient

A Dallas man diagnosed with Ebola spent the weekend around at least five school-children. Those students are now at home and will be monitored for fever, vomiting and other symptoms of the deadly disease. 

After visiting with infectious disease specialists and city officials, Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that none of the students appear to be sick.

“These children have been identified," Perry said. "And they are being monitored. And the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms.”

This case is serious, he said, and this is all hands on deck. 

“This is a disease that is not airborne," Perry said. "And is substantially more difficult to contract than the common cold … the public should have every confidence that the highly trained professionals involved here will succeed in this very important mission.”     

The superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, Mike Miles, said those five kids attend four different schools, and all of them went to classes earlier in the week. They're now isolated at home.

“The students didn’t have any symptoms, so the odds of them passing on any sort of virus is very low.,” Miles said. 

The district sent notices to Dan D. Rogers Elementary, Hotchkiss Elementary, Tasby Middle School, and Conrad High School. In the letter, the district said nurses would be deployed to the schools, and extra cleaning services would be arranged as a precaution. Before the school day ended, some parents reportedly removed their kids early, fearing the spread of Ebola.

“If you are not exhibiting symptoms of this, there is zero chance that you can transmit this, not miniscule, zero chance," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

He's opened an emergency operation center, and the city is training its 911 and 311 operators to help answer questions by the public.  

“And we’re creating a communication plan to work with council member Gates (Jennifer Staubach Gates), this is her district, " Rawlings said. "So a massive communication process to educate people on the facts, not the rumors.”

Dr. Mark Lester with Texas Health was another speaker at the Presbyterian news conference. Reporters asked him if the unidentified man revealed his travel history to a nurse.

Lester said that a nurse asked the man on his first visit to Presbyterian whether he had been in an area affected by the Ebola outbreak. The man told the nurse he had been in West Africa.

“That nurse was part of a care team," Lester said. "And it was a complex care team, taking care of him in the emergency department. Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team.”

The man left Presbyterian Friday, only to return two days later, when he was sent into an isolation room.

Medical staff at Presbyterian say the patient is in serious condition, but stable.

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.
Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.