October 2014 – DALLAS, TX – Five students, who attended four different Dallas schools, are being monitored this week after possibly being in close contact with the Ebola patient over the weekend. At a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the state’s governor Rick Perry said parents were concerned but he allayed fears of contagion. Officials said they are monitoring up to another dozen people who may have come into contact with the man. Thomas Eric Duncan is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia. The Liberian national came to the U.S. nearly two weeks ago to visit relatives and he is the first man to be diagnosed with Ebola while in the US. Mr. Duncan is now in a serious condition, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. A nurse had asked him on his first visit to the hospital when he felt ill if he had been in an area affected by the Ebola outbreak. He told them he had been to Liberia but the “information was not fully communicated throughout the whole team,” according to hospital officials. Mr. Duncan was then sent home with antibiotics – a decision hospital bosses have described as a matter of “regret” – but he was admitted when he returned two days later. Mr. Duncan’s family are among up to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man along with the ambulance crew who transported him to hospital. According to The New York Times, Mr. Duncan worked moving cargo for Fedex in the Liberian capital Monrovia but had recently quit his job and gotten a visa to come to the U.S. where his son reportedly lives. The Times also revealed that Mr. Duncan may have contracted Ebola while helping carry his landlord’s seriously ill, pregnant daughter to hospital. The woman, named by The Times as 19-year-old Marthalene Williams was taken to a hospital on September 15, but turned away because there was no room to treat her. She died the following day.
Hundreds of passengers were exposed to Mr. Duncan after it was revealed today that the traveler took at least three flights to get from Liberia to Dallas – because there is no direct flight from Belgium to Texas. The other flight that Mr. Duncan boarded is currently unknown and no details are being released. United Airlines has said it thinks Mr. Duncan flew from Brussels to Washington Dulles on Flight 951 before he traveled from Washington Dulles to Dallas Fort-Worth on Flight 822. A team of CDC ‘disease detectives’ arrived in Dallas on Wednesday and were going door-to-door to find out who may have come in contact with the man while he was contagious with Ebola. Residents living in the same apartment block that is ‘ground zero’ for the Ebola outbreak in Dallas today spoke of their fears. Despite reassurances from health chiefs that the deadly virus has been contained many residents are fearful that they might have been infected. Dallas County Health Department was forced to deny that a second male patient was being closely monitored today after media reports. On September 28, Mr. Duncan was rushed to hospital in an ambulance while vomiting and was quarantined. The ambulance crew who transported Mr. Duncan all tested negative for Ebola on Wednesday but have been placed in ‘reverse isolation’ at their homes for the next 21 days as a precaution. Other local residents were concerned that the complex had not been placed into quarantine. Mother Toni Gomez, who lives opposite the complex, said: ‘Yes, I am scared. Who wants to live next to somewhere where there is such a horrible virus? I think the place should at least be sealed off and no one allowed to go in and out.’
Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who had traveled to the U.S. from Liberia on September 20 to visit family, has been quarantined at a Dallas hospital for Ebola. –Daily Mail
Allaying fears that Mr. Duncan might have infected others, Mr. Perry said his state had the medical infrastructure to prevent an outbreak. “There are few places in the world better equipped to meet the challenge that is posed in this case.” More than 3,000 people have already died of Ebola in West Africa and a small number of U.S. aid workers have recovered after being flown to the US. Meanwhile, in Liberia a government spokesman said the man showed no symptoms or fever as he was screened before departing the country. “What this incident demonstrates is the clear international dimension of this Ebola crisis,” Lewis Brown, the country’s information minister, said in a statement. “For months, the Liberian government has been stressing that this disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem.” Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of the Liberia Airport Authority, said they had screened 10,000 passengers since July, but it would be “nearly impossible” to identify a person as infected with the Ebola virus if they were not showing symptoms. CDC Director Thomas Frieden confirmed the Ebola case on Tuesday, saying the unnamed patient left Liberia on 19 September and arrived in the US the next day to visit relatives, without displaying any symptoms of the virus. Symptoms became apparent in the patient on 24 September, and on 28 September he was admitted to a Texas hospital and put in isolation. The disease, which is not contagious until symptoms appear, is spread via close contact with bodily fluids. Health officials are working to identify all people who came into contact with Mr. Duncan and they will then be monitored for 21 days to see if an Ebola-related fever develops. –BBC, Daily Mail