Written by Andrea Martin, Media by Jack Wang
As of today, the patient first diagnosed with Ebola within the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, has died.
Duncan died at 7:51 a.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, a week after he was diagnosed with the virus on Sep. 30. It was noted that his condition had worsened, as he was labeled from critical to serious. In response to this, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of an experimental drug to be used on Duncan, which is called brincidofovir. Duncan was infected with Ebola after he had visited Liberia, his home country. A couple hours after Duncan’s death, a second patient had been admitted after reporting a possible exposure to Ebola.
Health officials in Dallas have mentioned that the man may have been in contact with Duncan’s family members. The second patient has been identified as a sheriff deputy who had been in the apartment where Duncan was living. In response to this, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the man does not appear to have the deadly virus. “We don’t have a concern for symptoms consistent with Ebola or definite contact,” Dr. Frieden declared but, “he is being assessed.” The hospital where Duncan was admitted into has been called into question as to whether Duncan could have survived had he not been released after his first visit on Sep. 25. Duncan returned three days later on Sep. 28 after his condition worsened. Ultimately, an early diagnosis of Ebola can mean the difference between life and death.
To prevent future Ebola cases, the government will now require screenings at five major airports in the U.S. Beginning this Saturday, travelers from West Africa, where the virus is killing hundreds, will have their temperatures taken by officials, an early symptom of Ebola. John F. Kennedy (New York), Dulles (outside Washington D.C.), O’Hare (Chicago), Hartsfield-Jackson (Atlanta), and Newark Liberty (outside New York) are the five major airports that will be administering the screening tests.
Josh Earnest, a White house spokesman, addressed the media and told reporters that 94 percent of the people who travel to the U.S. from the epicenter of the outbreak – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea – fly through those five airports.
It has also been reported that Customs and Border Protection agents will now be handing out information sheets to travelers regarding what symptoms to look out for and directions to call doctors within 21 days should they become sick (the incubation period for Ebola). As of right now Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa, and has been reported to have at least infected twice as many.
Before Duncan’s infection, two months ago, two Americans were treated for Ebola after they had been in Africa helping to treat Ebola patients. They were treated in Atlanta at Emory University Hospital where they were released three weeks later after being cured of the deadly virus. During their treatment they were given Zmapp, an experimental drug that had also been used to treat several international aid workers and medical staff. Unfortunately, the stocks of Zmapp had been used up by the time Duncan had been diagnosed with Ebola.