Fort Worth, Texas,
10:47 AM

Ebola in Dallas

The Doc Smitty explains what it means to you

Since Dr. Kent Brantley was diagnosed and transported back to the United States for treatment of Ebola, we have followed the outbreak and made an effort to provide guidance and reassurance to our Cook Children’s family.

Unfortunately, the outbreak has hit a little bit closer to home as a traveler from Africa has died from Ebola in Dallas and a health care worker in the hospital has tested positive for the disease.

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some thoughts on the situation:

1.Remember that the inital patient was a traveler from Africa and the second case was someone with close contact with the patient. No transmission has occurred through casual contact in the community.

2.Medical professionals across the country are aware of the concern of Ebola in returning travelers and should be asking about travel in patients with fever. If you know someone who has traveled to these areas who develops fever, encourage them to seek medical care and notify their provider or emergency room upon arrival (better yet, have them call ahead).

3.We have now treated multiple patients in the United States with success in helping them recover.

4.Remember to be cautious about how you talk about Ebola with your children. There is a significant amount of misinformation in our communities and especially on social media. What you tell your child matters as they will spread the message you send to their classmates. Widespread fear among the children in our area is unnecessary and could be harmful. If you want accurate information about the virus, check out our previous posts here and here.

We also spoke with Dr. Donald Murphey, medical director ofInfectious Disease at Cook Children’s, and he provided some wise perspective on the situation:

“Texas is a multinational country. We have new Texans coming from all over the US and all over the world … At Cook Children’s Medical Center and other large health care organizations, we are asked to care for patients with diseases that are not native to our area. We are asked to provide care for patients coming from West Africa that are ill. These patients often have fever and in most cases have malaria. They need high quality and prompt medical care. Now, we have had one case of Ebola in the US where a man was hospitalized in Dallas and later died. He, and others, can be cared for safely. We may go through a time when we are all concerned about Ebola in patients, even with minor illness, but Ebola will be contained in the United States."

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joined Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.