Dallas Ebola patient to be prosecuted, circle of contact increased to 100

Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson talks about the latest in the Dallas case of Ebola.
Liberian officials plan to prosecute the man who brought Ebola to the United States for lying on his health form. His actions may have put nearly 100 other people at risk.

With an Ebola crisis raging in West Africa, passengers leaving Liberia are being screened for fever and are asked if they have had contact with anyone infected.

On the questionnaire obtained by The Associated Press, Thomas Eric Duncan answered `no' to those questions.

Neighbors said Duncan had helped a sick pregnant woman who later died of the disease. Her illness at the time was believed to be pregnancy-related.

Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, told reporters Thursday that Duncan will be prosecuted when he returns to Liberia.


Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital released information Thursday night saying that there was an electronic error with recordkeeping on Duncan during his first visit to the emergency department Sept. 25.

In a news release, the hospital says Duncan was asked during his first visit if he had been out of the country recently, and he said he had traveled to Africa.

That information was part of a nurse's electronic record that did not get processed in a separate document system for doctors.

The hospital says it taking steps to make sure both record systems work together in the future.

The White House says President Obama called Mayor Mike Rawlings Thursday and promised any federal assistance needed to prevent the virus from spreading.


Circle of Contact

The Texas Department of State Health Services said about 100 people may have come in contact with Duncan. It's an increase from the 12 to 18 reported on Wednesday.

But, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson clarified these are not immediate family members. These are friends and others who simply may have been in the patient's or his immediate family members' circle of contact.

They are being questioned and asked to monitor their own symptoms, but are not being isolated at this point.

Thompson declined to answer where the contact happened.

"We know who these people are. We're doing interviews with them. They do not have any symptoms so let's make sure that we are clear to the public that this is not an outbreak. This is a very controlled, strategic public health follow up on the family and friends and anyone who might have had contact with the patient," he said.

"At this point there's only one confirmed case. There's no other person in Dallas County showing symptoms of the Ebola virus," Thompson added.

Both he and doctors fell confident the virus is contained and won't spread through Dallas County.


The Patient, His Family & Their Apartment


Duncan recently moved to Dallas from Liberia. He has been hospitalized with Ebola since Sunday and remains in serious condition.

He was staying with family members at an apartment in northeast Dallas when he began having symptoms. His four closest family members are now under state order to remain isolated in their home.

Thompson said the family members include a woman and her three children.

They are legally required to remain in their apartment and cannot have any visitors until at least Oct. 19, when the Ebola incubation period is over.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the control order for the family to remain in the apartment was issued because "They were non-compliant with our request to stay home."

Dallas County is using a contractor the clean up the apartment.

Thompson said they have not yet shown any symptoms of the deadly virus, which is only contagious once symptoms are present.

Dallas Sheriff's officers were at the scene Wednesday night to make sure no one who was unauthorized went in or out of the family's apartment.

Apartment manager Sally Nuran said the CDC has been working with these people and plan to monitor them on a daily basis. The agency will also take care of their basic needs like food.

"The family is safe. They are gonna be under monitoring by CDC for at least 20 days," Nuran said.

She plans to hold informational meeting for other residents in the complex, but said the language barrier has made it difficult to spread the word.

Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson went into the apartment Wednesday night, where he and medical director Christopher Perkins delivered the quarantine order to Duncan's relatives.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is acting as point person for the public health response to the Ebola alert.

Judge Jenkins also visited the apartment Thursday night.

He and two other people stayed for about 10 minutes before making their way back through security that's stationed around the building enforcing the quarantine.

Neighbors told her they didn't really seen Duncan outside of the apartment in the days leading up to his hospitalization, but there was a report of him vomiting outside on the way to the hospital.

The North Texas Food Bank said it delivered a three-day supply of food on Thursday afternoon to the people quarantined in the apartment.

The delivery was done in conjunction with the American Red Cross, Dallas County and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.


School Children

Duncan did come in contact with five children who attended four Dallas ISD schools. They were pulled out of class and will be isolated at home.

The district notified parents at Conrad High, Hotchkiss Elementary, Dan D. Rogers Elementary and Tasby Middle schools. Letters also went home to parents at Lowe Elementary because it is next door to Tasby.

Some parents pulled their students out of school early after hearing the news.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said Thursday that attendance was down to 86 percent at the four campuses where the affected students were in class earlier this week, compared to the usual 95 to 96 percent.

"I am very afraid and I feel like they should let us know for the safety of our children. They should tell us who the child is and where the people are living at. It's our obligation to keep our children safe and it's their obligation to keep us safe," said Natasha Lawrence, a parent.

The district would not disclose the names of the students for privacy reasons. None are showing symptoms of the deadly virus.


They will be allowed to communicate with their teachers over the internet. However, the absences for other children whose parents choose to keep them home will not be excused. Three Richardson ISD students were removed from Wallace Elementary School on Thursday after it was discovered they were in contact with the Dallas Ebola patient. They have shown no symptoms of the illness and were taken out of school as a precaution.


The buses that arrived or departed from those five Dallas ISD schools have since been disinfected.

Dallas County ISD officials say the cleaning was done strictly as a precaution.

The transportation agency says it used a hospital-grade disinfectant on 50 buses.

An agency spokesperson says its cleaning protocol goes above and beyond what the CDC requires

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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