First Person Diagnosed With Ebola in the US Dies

October 08, 2014

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who was the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States, died this morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the hospital announced.

"Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola," Texas Health said in a statement. "He fought courageously in this battle."

The 42-year-old Duncan travelled to Dallas last month shortly after he tried to help an Ebola-infected woman in Liberia — who eventually died — obtain medical care, at one point carrying her in his arms, according to news accounts. He had been hospitalized since September 28 at Texas Health, where he was on a respirator and receiving both kidney dialysis and the experimental drug brincidofovir as of yesterday.

Public health authorities said yesterday that they are monitoring 48 individuals in the Dallas area who may have been exposed to Duncan while he was symptomatic and therefore able to spread the virus. None of the individuals had displayed any signs of an Ebola infection as of Tuesday, said Thomas Frieden, MD, PhD, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Travelers to Be Screened

Also Wednesday, US officials said enhanced Ebola screening would begin this week for travelers arriving at the country's five busiest airports from West Africa.

Travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — the three nations hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak — will be escorted to airport areas set aside for screening, observed for signs of illness, given a health questionnaire, and have their temperatures taken, the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security said.

If they have a fever or symptoms, or if the questionnaire reveals possible Ebola exposure, the travelers will be checked by a health officer. They'll be referred to "the appropriate public health authority" if further evaluation is needed.

The CDC is sending additional staff to the five airports, which are:

  • JFK in New York City

  • Dulles outside of Washington, DC

  • O'Hare in Chicago, Illinois

  • Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Georgia

  • Newark outside New York City

These airports receive more than 94% of travelers from the three West African countries, officials say.


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