Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has died at Dallas hospital, staff says

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Thomas Eric Duncan

DALLAS — Thomas Eric Duncan, the man with Ebola who traveled to the United States from Liberia, died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital said.

The Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas released the following statement Wednesday morning:

“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 a.m. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.

He had been in critical condition after being diagnosed with the virus in mid-September. People who have had contact with him have been isolated and are being monitored for symptoms.

The mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, released this statement following the news:

We are deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Thomas Duncan has passed away. We appreciate the dedicated service of the emergency and medical personnel who worked diligently to care for him. On behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Duncan. I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S. and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracts from spreading into our community. I want to reinforce to the public, that this was an isolated incident of the Ebola virus; contracted by the individual while residing in another country. This is sad news for all involved. We will continue to work in partnership with Dallas County to do everything possible to protect our public health and all of the City of Dallas.

News of Duncan’s death comes as a federal official told CNN that airports in the United States will begin taking the temperatures of arriving passengers who have flight itineraries originating from West African countries where Ebola is concentrated.

The screenings will begin this weekend or next week, according to the source who has direct knowledge of the screenings.

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Among the countries considered to be in the so-called Ebola zone are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

The new measures at U.S. airports come a day after Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters that devising travel guidelines was in the works but nothing had yet been finalized enough to announce.

The Ebola virus can spread through contact with bodily fluids — blood, sweat, feces, vomit, semen and saliva — and only by someone who is showing symptoms, according to the CDC.

People with Ebola may not be symptomatic for up to 21 days.

Symptoms generally occur abruptly eight to 10 days after infection, though that period can range from two to 21 days, health officials say.

Air travelers must keep in mind that Ebola is not transmitted through the air, said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

“There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood,” he stressed.

Cases in Europe

Meanwhile, Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for the European Commission, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been eight confirmed cases of Ebola in European countries. There is one case in the United Kingdom that has been treated and the person has recovered; one case in France like that; two cases in Germany in which patients are receiving treatment; and three cases in Spain: two deceased Spanish missionaries and a nurse’s assistant who is being treated.

There is also a case in which a Norwegian staffer with Doctors Without Borders is being treated, he said.

Also in Spain, health officials said four more potential Ebola cases — in addition to the nurse’s assistant — are under observation.

Cases in West Africa

The globe’s largest outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since March, more than 7,400 people have contracted Ebola in those nations, according to the World Health Organization.

The CDC is tracking the latest cases in the region.

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