US Ebola Patient Had Contact With Sick Woman in Liberia

Dallas authorities keeping watch on 5 kids, others possibly exposed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2014 2:59 PM CDT
US Ebola Patient Had Contact With Sick Woman in Liberia
The entrance to the Ivy Apartments is lined with orange cones in Dallas. The man diagnosed with Ebola was staying at the complex with family.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Nobody else in Dallas is showing symptoms of Ebola, but health authorities are keeping a close watch on several people—including five children—who were in contact with the new patient before his diagnosis, reports The number of people possibly exposed might have been smaller had the patient, newly identified as Liberia resident Thomas Duncan, not been sent home after his first visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Mai Wureh tells the AP that Duncan, her brother, went to the ER on Friday and got sent home with antibiotics—even though he explained he was visiting from Liberia. Duncan returned two days later when his symptoms worsened, was admitted, and eventually diagnosed with Ebola.

Hospital executive Dr. Mark Lester confirmed that a screening nurse learned of Duncan's link to West Africa, but Lester said that "information was not fully communicated throughout the whole team." The Liberian government has confirmed that the patient is indeed Duncan, a resident of Monrovia in his mid-40s, reports the New York Times. Four days before traveling to the US this month, Duncan came in direct contact with a female Ebola patient in Monrovia, her family and neighbors tell the newspaper. Duncan rode in a taxi with the woman to the hospital along with some of her relatives. “He was holding her by the legs, the pa was holding her arms, and Sonny Boy was holding her back,” says a witness. The person identified as "Sonny Boy," 21, has since died, as has the woman they were transporting. (Read more Ebola stories.)

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