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Ebola’s progress: Thomas Duncan dies, airport screenings, world-wide concern

Written By | Oct 9, 2014

Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, is the first person in the US to be diagnosed with Ebola, and the first to die in the US from the disease.

“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,” hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said in a statement.

Earlier today Sgt. Michael Monnig, a deputy who was among those accompanying health officials into the apartment Duncan was staying in, presented to a care clinic complaining of stomach pains, flushed and feverish.

Sgt. Monnig was moved to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas for further testing.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s office released a statement Wednesday, saying “the deputy expressed concern and we directed that deputy to the Dallas County Health & Human Services for care. We now wait for further information as medical staff attends to the deputy.”

Chances that Monnig has contracted Ebola are not likely.

“We know he didn’t have direct contact with the patient (Duncan) and he doesn’t have a fever, and in a situation like that there is no risk of Ebola,” said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Two other deputies from the department have complained of illness according to Scott Guiselman, president of the Dallas Sheriff Fraternal Order of Police.

Family members of Duncan who had been in the home, exposed to a much great degree than Monnig have not exhibited any signs of sickness.

NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo was infected while in Liberia, airlifter to Omaha, Nebraska where he began receiving the experimental drug brinciodfovir, or CMX001. Additional, Dr. Kent Brantly, an Ebola survivor, has donated his blood, which may contain life-saving antibodies, to Mukpo. Brantly also donated blood to Dr. Rick Sacra, who was also treated in the Omaha facility, and who survived.

Brantly offered to donate plasma to Duncan, but he says he never heard back from the hospital.

A nurse’s assistant in Spain became the first person to contract Ebola while being outside of Africa. The nurse was providing care to two missionaries that have since died from the disease. Other workers treating the priests have not shown any signs of the disease however the nurses husband and two other persons, are being quarantined.

Because of fears of animals being able to transmit the disease, the nurse’s dog was euthanized to the horror of many animal lovers and protestors.

A Norwegian staff member of Doctors Without Borders who contracted the virus in Sierra Leone has been moved into isolation and is awaiting transfer to Europe for treatment.

Duncan family members, including his finance, are asking questions about Duncan’s care, or lack thereof.

Duncan first went to the emergency room on September 25, telling responders that he had traveled from Liberia. He was sent home. Had the hospital responded differently, admitting and starting treatments immediately, Duncan’s chance of survival would obviously increased, but it is not guaranteed he would have survived.

Duncan was in the hospital for nearly a week before he received an experimental medicine treatment manufactured by Chimerix and that had just recently been approved for. Some allege that other persons stricken have received much prompter treatment.

“What if they had taken him right away? And what if they had been able to get treatment to him earlier?” Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas told reporters.

“He got sick and went to the hospital and was turned away, and that’s the turning point here,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a spokesman for the family, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Louise Troh, Duncan’s longtime partner, said through a public relations firm that she believes “a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care.”

“She is not seeking to create any kinds of divisions in our community over this. She certainly, like all of us, would want to see justice done,” Mason said. “She wants to see that people are treated well and treated fairly, and that includes Mr. Duncan. But this is a human drama. It’s not a political drama. … It is a drama of human grief.”

Duncan will be created a process that will kill any virus in the body; his cremains can then be given to the family for burial.

The administration is announcing that screening of all passengers from Ebola infected areas at five major US airports, JFK and Newark airports in New York, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Washington-Dulles in Virginia and Hartsfield in Atlanta. It is estimated that this would affect about 150 passengers per day.

The cost of Ebola to West Africa is estimated to reach $750 million over the next six month. The current outbreak has already killed 3,879 people out of the known 8,033 cases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The most heavily affected countries are Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that are continuing to “deteriorate” according to WHO.

Fears are that the disease will reach France before the end of October. Basing their predictions on air traffic loads, some are predicting the chance for Ebola to migrate to France at 75% and Britain at 50%. Those percentages drop to 25% and 15% if travel is reduced by 80%.

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the US can, and will, stop the disease in the United States.

“The right steps are being taken, and I am therefore confident we will stop Ebola in its tracks here in the United States.”

Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award-winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.