More Troubles for American Ebola Patient


The first America-diagnosed Ebola patient now has more troubles heaped upon his feverish shoulders. Liberia has announced that they plan to prosecute the man for lying on his airport questionnaire. The man, Thomas Eric Duncan, has answered two questions during the screening process claiming that he had not come into contact with an individual infected with Ebola. However, this was not accurate. Duncan’s landlord’s daughter, who was reportedly pregnant, in Liberia was stricken with Ebola during his residence. Duncan, along with her family members, brought her to a hospital hoping to provide her with life-saving care. However, they were unable to have her admitted to the facility and brought her back home. There, it is reported that Duncan helped bring her back inside the family home, where she shortly passed away.

On Liberia’s health screening for airline passengers it is asked whether travelers have cared for a patient stricken with Ebola or with the bodies of those who have died of the virus. Duncan negatively answered both questions, which is the cause behind the Liberian government’s accusations that he has perjured himself. Liberia has restricted travel out of the country for those who may be carrying the Ebola virus in order to prevent the spread of the virulent virus.

However, it is unclear whether Duncan is guilty of knowingly lying on his travel documentation. Initially, the family believed that the young woman was not suffering from Ebola, but rather had serious complications from her pregnancy. Neighbors in Liberia claim that Ebola was not suspected until much later and it is unclear whether Duncan ever knew that the young lady had been infected with Ebola. As he had not yet begun to demonstrate symptoms of Ebola, he was likely not contagious during his travels from Liberia. While virulent, Ebola can only be spread through bodily fluids, which means that many individuals may not suspect they have been exposed to the virus as they have not had prolonged contact with an infected person. Whether this Duncan will be able to mount a defense against the perjury charges with this information is not yet known.

During his stay in Texas, Duncan stayed with a local family of four. This family has been placed under quarantine, as they have had close contact with Duncan as he became symptomatic while in their home. Law enforcement is maintaining a presence outside of the family’s home in order to enforce the strict quarantine and will regularly deliver groceries and daily necessities to the home. The household will be receiving regular testing as well, in order for them to receive prompt treatment if they are infected. This will last 21 days, which may be some of the longest days in this household’s life, in order to ensure safety.

Health officials in Texas have noted that as many as a hundred individuals may have been exposed to Ebola, but they also stated that the vast majority are not at high risk for infection. Persons infected with Ebola are only contagious after they begin to demonstrate symptoms of the illness and Duncan began to feel ill well after his flight to the United States. This number may have been lower if Duncan had been diagnosed sooner. Physicians at the Dallas hospital where he initially sought treatment believed he had a typical viral infection and were only able to properly diagnose him after receiving positive Ebola test results on his blood work.


Related posts: