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Rick Perry on US Ebola: 'We Will Keep Citizens Safe as Possible,' Chances of Spreading Are 'Very Small'

( [email protected] ) Oct 01, 2014 01:42 PM EDT
Texas Governor Rick Perry recently held a press conference regarding the first ever Ebola diagnosis in the United States, reassuring citizens that those that may have come into contact with the patient are being closely monitored and that there is a very small chance that the disease will spread.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the government will do "everything possible" to protect citizens from Ebola. (Fox)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently held a press conference addressing the first Ebola case ever diagnosed in the United States.

Speaking at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where the patient is being held in Isolation, Perry stated the CDC is "doing everything possible" to ensure that citizens are protected."

"We will keep our citizens as safe as possible," the governor stated.

According to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, the unidentified man left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20 and did not have Ebola symptoms until around five days later.

Perry stated that a handful of school-aged children who had contact the man diagnosed with Ebola and are being monitored at home.

Related: First US Ebola Virus Diagnosis Confirmed at Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital in Dallas 

Authorities say the ambulance crew who transported the man and members of his family are among the 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man.

Perry was joined by Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

"They have a whole ward that's dedicated to the care of this individual," said Lakey, "Professionals who are very competent and are doing it in a safe environment with compassionate care."

He also reiterated that the disease can only be spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick patient.

"This is not West Africa, this is a very sophisticated city, a very sophisticated hospital," said Lakey. "The chances of it being spread are very, very small."

Citing privacy concerns, health officials declined to release any details about how the patient contracted the virus, what he was doing in Liberia or how he was being treated.

"I can say he is ill. He is under intensive care," Dr. Edward Goodman of the hospital told reporters.

"This is all hands on deck," said Perry. "We understand that, and we've got great local partners, and everyone has their marching orders and understands the importance of good collaborations good partnering from the local level all the way up to the CDC."

The deadly Ebola virus has killed  thousands of people in four West African countries, according to the CDC, and will claim an estimated 1.4 million victims in those areas by January.