US Ebola patient Thomas Duncan dies in hospital
konknaijaboy | On 08, Oct 2014
Read Full story via BBC
The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola within the US has died, Texas hospital officials have said.
Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, who caught the virus in his native Liberia, was being treated with an experimental drug in isolation in a Dallas hospital.
Earlier the US announced new screening measures at entry points to check travellers for symptoms of the virus.
It has killed 3,865 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, in the worst Ebola outbreak yet.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am,” a spokesman for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said in a statement.
“Our thoughts today are with his family,” said US President Barack Obama, who said his death showed “we don’t have a lot of margin for error. If we don’t follow protocols and procedures that are put in place, then we’re putting folks in our communities at risk”.
The news came shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry urged all nations to boost their response to combat the virus.
“More countries can and must step up,” he said in a joint press conference with his British counterpart Philip Hammond.
The US has pledged as many as 4,000 troops to the region, while the UK is sending 750 military personnel to Sierra Leone.
Duncan, who worked as a driver for a courier company, tested positive in Dallas on 30 September, 10 days after arriving on a flight from Monrovia via Brussels.
He become ill a few days after arriving in the US. Even after going to hospital and telling medical staff he had been in Liberia, he was sent home with antibiotics.
How will US airport screening work?
- JFK in New York, Newark in New Jersey, Washington Dulles, O’Hare in Chicago and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
- They account for 90% of international travellers to the US
- About 160 people come daily from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea
- A handheld device will take temperatures
- Passengers will also have to fill out a questionnaire
- passengers with a fever or who answer “yes” to certain questions will be seen by a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Four days later, he was placed in isolation but his condition continued to worsen and this week he was given an experimental drug.
Ten people with whom he came into contact are being monitored for symptoms.
Following Duncan’s diagnosis, the first case of contagion outside of Africa was confirmed in Spain, where a nurse who treated an Ebola victim in Madrid contracted the virus herself.
Teresa Romero is the first person known to have contracted the deadly virus outside West Africa.
She had treated two Spanish missionaries who later died from Ebola.
In other developments:
- The UK is sending 750 troops to Sierra Leone to help build Ebola treatment centre
- The World Bank has warned that the economic cost of the virus could exceed $32bn (£20bn)
While Duncan was the first person to be diagnosed within the US, three American aid workers and a photojournalist contracted the virus in Liberia. Three have recovered.
The new screening measures in Chicago, New York, Washington and Atlanta would not have detected Duncan’s infection because he was not displaying symptoms on arrival.
Ebola spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the virus and the only way to stop an outbreak is to isolate those who are infected.
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
- Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
- Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
- Incubation period is two to 21 days
- There is no proven vaccine or cure
- Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
- Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host