December 12, 2017
Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ebola patient in Dallas takes turn for worse

A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is seen where patient Thomas Eric Duncan is being treated for the Ebola virus on October 4, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (AFP)

The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States took a turn for the worse today, slipping from serious to critical condition, as health officials reported fielding scores of possible cases around the country that proved to be false alarms.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said news of the Ebola patient in Dallas had alerted hospitals nationwide to check incoming patients for potential risks, particularly those who had recently traveled from the center of the outbreak in West Africa.

The CDC has identified nine people who had contact with the Dallas patient from Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan, and therefore may have been exposed to the virus, and an additional 40 are being monitored as potential contacts. None have shown symptoms, Frieden said.

Frieden also said US health authorities have responded to inquiries regarding more than 100 potential cases of Ebola since Duncan tested positive earlier this week, but no new infections have been identified.

Today, CDC officials dressed in biohazard suits escorted two passengers off a United Airlines jet that landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey because they were believed to be from Liberia and exhibiting signs of illness during the flight, WABC-TV and the Record newspaper reported.

An airport official was quoted by the newspaper as saying CDC officials did not believe the pair, a man and his daughter, were sick with Ebola. The official added that all other passengers on the flight from Brussels were cleared to leave the plane.

Duncan's diagnosis "has really increased attention to what health workers need to do to be alert and make sure a travel history is taken," Frieden told a news conference.

Frieden added that many of the inquiries fielded by the CDC involved people who had traveled outside West Africa.

Duncan, now being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was sent home after his first visit to the emergency room, despite telling a nurse there that he had just been to Liberia.

The hospital issued a terse statement on Saturday saying he was in critical condition, a worsening from the "serious condition" he was listed in the previous two days. The hospital declined to elaborate.

The governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are struggling to contain the worst outbreak on record of the deadly hemorrhagic fever.

The World Health Organization on Friday updated its death toll to at least 3,439 out of 7,492 suspected, probable or confirmed cases.

On Friday, officials said the number of people placed under isolation in Dallas after possible exposure to Duncan had grown to at least 10, including four members of a family moved to an undisclosed house for close monitoring.

Initially, 100 people had been feared to have had direct or indirect contact. All those in isolation were cooperating with public health authorities by staying in quarantine voluntarily, according to Dallas city and county officials.

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Tags:  World  US  Ebola  Dallas  

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