2 people in Harris County tested for Ebola both negative

HOUSTON -- Harris County Health officials say that two people have been tested for the Ebola Virus and both have tested negative.

One of those patients has tested positive for Malaria which has symptoms very similar to Ebola.

It might look like the Centers for Disease Control is the front line fighting Ebola, but look no further than Dallas to see that the front line is much close to home.

That battleground is as close as the nearest hospital or even health clinic.

"We serve a large population and we have people from all over the world that seek our services," said Patrick Richoux, the Director of Clinical Services at Houston Area Community Services.

Like plenty of groups it is not waiting. At Houston Area Community Services its clinic and its workers have new protocols directly related to stopping Ebola in the unlikely event that it should have to.

"We will ask them if they have been to West Africa or any close friend has been. At that minute the front desk will call one of the nurses or myself," Richoux added.

If there are any further signs of illness the next call is to the county then the state.

Gov. Rick Perry is also not waiting to take action, signing an executive order creating a task force on infectious disease and response on Monday.

"Studying and improving our existing plans and enhancing our ability to quickly and effectively halt the spread of emerging infectious diseases of all types," the governor said is his goal.

Perry also called for broader screening protocols at entry points into the state, adding questions specific to Ebola effected regions to be asked at border checkpoints and airports.

Federal officials are pushing for that too.

"We want to make sure that our community is prepared," said US Representative Shelia Jackson Lee.

The Houston area US Representative spoke to the CDC director by phone and was assured that there is a full CDC presence and quarantine at Bush Airport.

Now she is pushing to increase the screening of people entering the country there, saying that cost should not be a question.

"Absolutely not. If we need to spend the dollars we need to do so," Jackson-Lee added.

That is not all she has in mind.

"You raise the level of alert. Like the color coded alert after 9-11. You have a red alert, but you ask people to be calm," Jackson-Lee proposed.

That will be a tougher sell this week in Texas.


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