Ebola Today: President Bush Pays a Visit to Dallas Hospital

President George W. Bush hugs nurse and Ebola survivor Amber Vinson at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Nov. 7, 2014.
President George W. Bush hugs nurse and Ebola survivor Amber Vinson at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Nov. 7, 2014. –Texas Health Resources

6:03 p.m. Rejected. The boyfriend of Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who treated Ebola patients and fought quarantines to return to her home state, has left the University of Maine at Fort Kent. The Associated Press reports that Ted Wilbur withdrew from the university where he was a senior nursing student on Friday.

Wilbur says he was not permitted back on campus because of his girlfriend, while university officials have stated that Wilbur was voluntarily staying off campus. Hickox continues to be free of Ebola symptoms. Both Hickox and Wilbur are disappointed in the university’s actions, saying that it has “fueled the flames of confusion and misinformation.’’

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5:32 p.m. Look who showed up at Texas Health Presbyterian. President George W. Bush greeted workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Friday. He paid a visit to the emergency department, the Medical Intensive Care Unit, and nurse and Ebola survivor Amber Vinson.

President George W. Bush walks into Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Nov. 7, 2014, where he visited with caregivers. —Texas Health Resources

“The last five weeks have been a trying time for the city and residents of Dallas and especially the people of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas,’’ said President George W. Bush. “I appreciate the way the hospital and its professionals are sharing lessons learned in a way that helps the broader United States health care community respond to this terrible virus. As someone who has gone to Presbyterian hospital for care myself, I know it is a dedicated, professional and caring place, and I’m confident it is doing what is necessary to reaffirm the community’s trust.’’

President George W. Bush poses with caregivers in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Nov. 7, 2014. —Texas Health Resources

3:15 p.m. Are Americans calming down because the news is calming down? We’ve all noticed that Ebola isn’t dominating the news as much this week. Dr. Albert Wu, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told the Associated Press: That’s not a bad thing.

Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA (the missionary organization where Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol worked in Liberia) told the Associated Press that the slow down in coverage is because the disease has become “woven into our fabric now.’’

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“Woven’’ or not, Americans are still very much concerned about Ebola: 59 percent of recent voters said they followed Ebola news closely. But the major stories are dying down, too. States are focusing on arming people for the influenza season instead of talking about Ebola. And in Maine, Kaci Hickox’s quarrantine ends on Monday: ‘‘Hopefully, after that photo op, interest will wane in her,’’ Wu told the Associated Press. ‘‘And she can continue to do the, I would say, heroic work that she has been doing in the past.’’

2:31 p.m. Dallas has absolutely calmed down about Ebola. The Ebola crisis in Dallas officially came to an end on Friday when the 177 people who were being monitored for the virus were to be cleared at midnight, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital officials announced today.

The end of the 21-day monitoring period has relieved local officials relieved and left them with the feeling that they are prepared to deal with another Ebola outbreak if this were to happen again. ‘‘It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our hometown health care heroes and the city, county, and school district employees that worked so hard, along with our state and federal partners, to keep us safe during the Ebola crisis,’’ Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement, calling it an early Thanksgiving for the city.

Although Duncan’s loved ones remain angry, there is still a sense of relief over today’s milestone. When the Associated Press asked how she felt, Duncan’s fiancée Louise Troh simply responded: “Thank God.’’

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12:30 p.m. Are Americans calming down about Ebola?Google Trends “interest’’ search in the word “Ebola’’ in the last 90 days has reached a low point. Wednesday’s search results (Nov. 5) scored a 6/100, the lowest since Sept. 29, which scored a 2/100. People were searching Ebola constantly on Oct. 24 (100/100), the day a NYC doctor tested positive for the disease.

People were searching Ebola constantly on Oct. 24 (100/100), the day a NYC doctor tested positive for the disease. —Google

10:00 a.m. “I have no idea.’’ Recovered Ebola patient and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse Amber Vinson still does not understand how she contracted Ebola. In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday, Vinson describes how she took all necessary precautions while she was treating Thomas Eric Duncan at the Dallas hospital alongside Nina Pham, another now Ebola-free nurse. “It is a mystery to me,’’ she told Lemon.

The latest numbers:

Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 13,042 (as of Nov. 5)

Number of deaths: 4,818 (as of Nov. 5)

Countries currently affected by Ebola: Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.

Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria (Oct. 19), Senegal (Oct. 17)

And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:

The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.

Ebola symptoms:

– Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

– Severe headache

– Muscle pain

– Weakness

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Abdominal (stomach) pain

– Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.

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