ONE HUNDRED exposed to Ebola in Texas as panicked parents pull children from local schools and neighbor describes how infected man was ‘throwing up all over the place’
- Four members of Thomas Eric Duncan’s family have been legally ordered to stay home and not have visitors to limit the spread of Ebola
- However MailOnline reported three visitors to the North Dallas apartment on Wednesday
- School administrators urged calm but some parents have temporarily removed students from four Dallas schools
- Five students have possibly being in close contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan over the weekend
- Ebola isn’t contagious until symptoms appear, and then it can spread only by close contact with a patient’s bodily fluids
- All the schools are undergoing deep cleans and have extra staff on alert
- Mr Duncan, a Liberian national, has been quarantined at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday in a ‘serious but stable condition’
- A neighbor reported Mr Duncan vomiting outside the North Dallas apartment complex where he was staying on Sunday
Up to 100 people were in contact with the Dallas Ebola patient at some point, Texas health officials said today, marking a significant jump from the 18 people that authorities had said may have been exposed to the deadly virus. Four members of 42-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan’s family have been legally ordered to stay home as a precaution even though they are not showing symptoms, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement on Thursday. Violating the order could result in criminal charges. The health officials said around 100 people may have come into contact with Mr Duncan. Earlier, they had put the figure at up to 18, including five children. Some parents have temporarily removed their children from Dallas schools after learning that the five students may have come into contact with the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.
Mr Duncan’s sister, Mai Wureh, confirmed on Wednesday that her brother had been hospitalized with Ebola
Mr Duncan began to develop symptoms of Ebola on September 24, four days after arriving in the U.S. He first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 26 where he told a nurse that he was visiting from a West African country in the so-called ‘Ebola hot zone’. Mr Duncan underwent basic blood tests but not an Ebola screening. The 42-year-old was sent home with antibiotics for a ‘low-grade virus’, a critically-missed opportunity to prevent others being exposed to the disease. He was finally quarantined on Sunday – a week after arriving in the U.S. It also raised the frightening prospect that he was mixing freely with others for a full four days while showing symptoms of the virus – the time when Ebola is most contagious. Texas Presbyterian officials confirmed on Wednesday that information that Mr Duncan had been in an area of Ebola outbreak ‘was not fully communicated throughout the whole team’. As health officials scrambled to contain the infection, Texas Governor Rick Perry said at a hospital press conference on Wednesday that he had ‘full confidence’ in Texas medical teams when it came to the safety and welfare of citizens, adding that only those who came in close contact with the patient when he was contagious were at risk.
‘I could not see his face, but just saw the ambulance outside and he was being loaded in,’ she told Mail Online. ‘I know he lives in the same block as me, but I do not know his name.’ Ms Rayo said the residents had no idea at the time that the victim had the highly-contagious disease. She did not see any health officials at the complex, which is mostly home to newly, arrived immigrants from Africa and India. ‘No one said anything to us. I only found out that this was the place when the media turned up,’ she said. The 29-year-old, who has lived at the Ivy Apartments for two years, said: ‘Of course I am very worried. I have three children. If the man had Ebola we should have been told. We should have been allowed to leave.’ There was no sign of any CDC activity at the complex which is comprised of apartments in two-story blocks set around a large car park. The managers of the apartment complex evicted media saying it was private property. A manager, who identified herself as Sally, shouted at media to leave claiming she has no idea the Ebola victim lived within the complex. Two police cars arrived to escort media from the premises while traffic cones were placed across the entrance. Several residents spoken to by MailOnline were unaware that Ebola victim lived in the apartment complex which is home to more than 400 people. Residents pay $800 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. 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.’ Ms Gomez, who was clutching her one-year-old daughter Demaruia, added: ‘I’m really concerned because I have to live here with my family.’ During the afternoon a man in his 20s arrived at the apartment holding what appeared to be a roll of black garbage bags and went in to the house, suggesting the family are disposing of items which may have been infected. Two women in their 20s also visited the apartment for a short while. At one point a young boy aged around four could be seen peering through the drawn blinds of the apartment that looked out onto the parking lot.
An epidemic of the Ebola virus (seen here in a file photo) has killed close to 4,000 people in West Africa
President Obama is aware of the patient’s Ebola diagnosis and the public health investigation, the White House said. Dr Edward Goodman, epidemiologist for Texas Health Presbyterian, said the hospital had a plan for handling Ebola should a suspected case emerge and was ‘well prepared’ to provide care. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS DFW: ‘We have quarantined both [the ambulance crew that took the patient to the hospital] and the unit itself to make sure that nothing was there that can be spread.’ He added: ‘First and foremost, we gotta have our thoughts and prayers for this man, who is very sick and hopefully he’ll get well. But we’re gonna sure everybody else is safe at the same time.’ Twelve other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27, according to the CDC. All of those tests were negative. Four U.S. aid workers who became infected while volunteering in West Africa have been treated in special isolation facilities in hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska. A U.S. doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health. One of the health workers who contracted Ebola, Samaritan’s Purse Dr Kent Brantly, testified to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee about prevention methods earlier this month, The National Journal reported. ‘Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak,’ Brantly said. ‘Indeed it is a fire – it is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire. ‘Instead, we must mobilize the resources… to keep entire nations from being reduced to ashes. Since the summer months, U.S. health officials have been preparing for the possibility that an individual traveler could unknowingly arrive with the infection. Health authorities have advised hospitals on how to prevent the virus from spreading within their facilities. People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but that does not guarantee that an infected person won’t get through. Liberia is one of the three hardest-hit countries in the epidemic, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea.The epidemic has killed close to 4,000 people in West Africa.