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Federal officials confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in US

The patient is being kept in strict isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, hospital officials said Monday. 

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A man walks up the stairway leading to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.

LM Otero/AP

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A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital say the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation and that the hospital is following Centers for Disease Control recommendations to keep doctors, staff and patients safe.

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The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient's symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.

The CDC has said 12 other people in the US have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests all came back negative.

Four American aid workers who have become infected while volunteering in West Africa have been treated in special isolation facilities in hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska, and a US doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.

The US has only four such isolation units, but the CDC insists that any hospital can safely care for someone with Ebola.

Jason McDonald, spokesman for the CDC, said health officials use two primary guidelines when deciding whether to test a person for the virus.

"The first and foremost determinant is have they traveled to the region (of West Africa)," he said. The second is whether there's been proximity to family, friends, or others who've been exposed, he said.