CHRIS UHLMANN: Texas authorities say up to 18 people, including
five children, are being monitored for symptoms of Ebola.
A hospital in Dallas confirmed yesterday it's treating the first case of the deadly virus diagnosed on US soil - a man who'd been in Liberia.
President Barack Obama has been briefed as authorities attempt to calm the concerns of Dallas residents about the spread of the virus.
North America correspondent Michael Vincent reports.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The people of Dallas Texas woke up this morning wanting to know one thing:
TEXAS RESIDENT: Is this something that we should all be freaking out over?
MICHAEL VINCENT: Talkback radio hosts called Dr David Greenberg from UT South Western Medical Centre.
DAVID GREENBERG: Uh... Well, I think it's obviously a scary situation but this is something that we anticipated was going to happen. It was probably just a matter of time.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Health authorities are trying to respond in detail to as many questions as possible, no matter how basic.
TALKBACK RADIO HOST: If you bump up against somebody and you rub their skin and you rub your eye, is that a way- Does there have to be a wet place, a wet spot somewhere?
DAVID GREENBERG: Yeah, great question.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Officials have been repeating it over and over - casual contact has a very low chance of transmitting the disease.
So far only there has only one man who has been confirmed to have Ebola. He is in a serious but stable condition. However, concerns remain for up to 18 other people who have had contact with him.
RICK PERRY: Today we learned that some school-aged children have been identified as having had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Texas Governor Rick Perry.
RICK PERRY: I know that parents are being extremely concerned about that development but let me assure, these children have been identified and they are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Those children did go to four different schools on Monday - other parents are being contacted but officials say the children are not showing symptoms so the chance of them being infectious is low.
Authorities also stress that the man's relatives have not been placed in quarantine, but are effectively under voluntary isolation.
David Lakey from Texas State Health Services:
DAVID LAKEY: If they do not follow that advice then additional steps can be taken but right now we're working with the family to ensure that they do as we are advising them related to the spread of the disease.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has sent a seven person team to Dallas to help local authorities track any other possible contacts.
CDC director, Thomas Frieden.
THOMAS FRIEDEN: What we need to do first in this particular instance is do everything possible to help this individual who's really fighting for their life, and then make sure that we're doing that, we don't have other people exposed in the hospital, identify all those contacts and monitor them for 21 days. It's not impossible that one or two of them would develop symptoms and they would then need to be isolated.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Among the 18 people identified for monitoring, the emergency crew that brought the man to the hospital on Sunday.
Their ambulance remains outside the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas - it's been taped off to stop any further use as a precaution.
This is Michael Vincent in Washington for AM.