AUSTIN, Texas - The last person being monitored in connection with Texas' three Ebola patients is set to be cleared from twice-daily monitoring.
The Texas Department of State Health Services says a hospital worker who last handled medical waste on Oct. 17 will be cleared by the end of the day Friday, when the 21-day incubation period for the disease has safely passed.
"We're happy to reach this milestone, but our guard stays up," said Dr. David Lakey, the state health commissioner. "We reached this point through teamwork and meticulous monitoring, and we'll continue to be vigilant to protect Texas from Ebola."
On Sept. 30, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas diagnosed the first Ebola case in the U.S. in Thomas Eric Duncan, who had recently arrived from Liberia. He died Oct. 8. Two nurses at the hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, became infected while treating Duncan. Both later recovered.
In all, there were 177 people in Texas - including health care workers, household contacts and community members - being monitored after having contact with one of the three patients, specimens or medical waste. None of the others got sick.
The state also recently cleared from monitoring more than 160 people who were passengers on a flight taken by one of the nurses when she was running a slight fever.