By RYAN GORMAN
Federal authorities have confirmed the first diagnosed case of the Ebola virus in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control made the stunning announcement in a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Local station WFAA first reported the patient tested positive in Dallas.
The male patient recently traveled to Liberia, leaving the country on September 19 and arriving in the U.S. the following day, according to the CDC's Dr. Thomas Frieden. The person exhibited no symptoms until about five days later.
He sought care on the 26th, was admitted to a hospital on the 28th and tested positive on the 30th, Frieden explained, adding the man is "critically ill."
Officials declined to say if he was a volunteer working as part of the Ebola containment effort and also if he traveled on a commercial flight. They also repeatedly explained the virus is not airborne.
"Ebola can only be spread by sharing body fluids with an infected person," said Frieden. He later said the virus can be killed "by washing your hands [and] wearing gloves."
The patient has been placed into isolation in Texas and will be treated in the state.
"Virtually every hospital in this country that can do isolation can do isolation treatment for Ebola," said Frieden, adding that other non-Ebola instances of hemorrhagic fever were treated in the country in the past few years and "no person that treated the patients became ill."
A CDC team already on the ground in Texas will work to identify all individuals that have come into contact with the infected individual and monitor those people for the next 21 days, Frieden added.
It is not known exactly how many people could potentially have been exposed, but Frieden characterized the number of people as "a handful."
Frieden declined to say if the individual is an American citizen, but did disclose he is in the country to "visit family." He also would not provide the man's age.
Dallas County Health & Human Services director Zachary Thompson told WFAA that the city is more than able to contain and treat the isolated patient.
"This is not Africa," said Thompson. "We have a great infrastructure to deal with an outbreak."
More than 3,000 people have died during a recent outbreak of the deadly disease across West Africa, according to health officials.
Three Americans were transported to Atlanta for treatment after contracting Ebola, but this is the first known case outside of that region.
No previous cases are known to have been diagnosed outside of Africa.
"Ebola is a scary disease," said Frieden. "We're really hoping for the recovery of this individual."
"We're [also] stopping it in it's tracks in the United States."