DALLAS (TIP): Thomas Eric Duncan left Liberia for the United States, by official accounts, a healthy man. Just over two weeks later, he passed away at a Dallas, Texas, hospital with Ebola.
Duncan was admitted into isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 28 with common symptoms of Ebola: fever, vomiting and diarrhea. He later tested positive for the virus that has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa.
He was started on the experimental drug brincidofovir on October 4 — far too long after he arrived at the hospital, his family has said. On Tuesday, October 7, the hospital reported that Duncan was on a ventilator and his kidneys were failing. Duncan died on Wednesday, October 8 at 7:51 a.m.
Ebola anxiety was ratcheted up in the afternoon, as Dallas TV stations broke into regular programming with live video of an ambulance headed to Presbyterian from a health clinic in Frisco.
Inside was a Dallas County sheriff’s deputy who had been briefly inside the Vickery Meadow apartment where Duncan stayed before he was hospitalized. The deputy had come down with a stomachache. Local and national health officials said it was unlikely that this was a new Ebola case. “We can’t afford to make a mistake,” Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland said, explaining the abundance of caution. About the time the ambulance carrying Deputy Michael Monnig arrived at Presbyterian, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described Duncan as the “face we now associate with Ebola.” For American health care workers, Ebola “needs to be top-of-mind,” said Dr. Tom Frieden. Duncan’s death will have no effect on the system being used to track anyone he had contact with when he was sick enough to pass along the infection, said Zachary Thompson, Dallas County’s health department director. Ten people are considered at highest risk, with 38 others being monitored daily. None has shown any sign of illness, officials said.