Additional details have surfaced regarding the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States of America. The patient has been confirmed as Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian National who traveled to the United States via Brussels and Washington before arriving in Dallas. The Liberian Government will likely prosecute the patient for failing to complete a survey honestly when leaving the country. Key updates have emerged from various sources across the world and some details may not be confirmed.
- The patient was living with as many as 8 other people in a relatively small apartment
- State officials considered the apartment unsanitary and sent a cleanup crew
- A formal quarantine letter was hand delivered to the family
- A member of the family attempted to break quarantine and was forced to return home
- The patient vomited on the street during the ambulance pick up
- A cleaning crew arrived at the apartment today
- The cleaning staff were not wearing protective gear and standard “power” washers were used
- More than 100 contacts have been identified including 12 close or direct contacts
- First Responders have tested negative for Ebola so far
- The patient’s status has been upgraded from critical to serious
- Rain in Dallas has raised fears that Ebola could be washed into the water system – Ebola is not known to be waterborne
- The State Fair will go ahead as planned; hand-sanitizer has been deployed.
The most concerning report relates to the cleaning of the street outside the apartment building, Ebola is known to survive for extended periods of time outside the human body provided it has a medium to survive in. It is difficult to trace any possible people or animals that came into contact with the vomit. A cleaning crew arrived without protective clothing and used a high pressure washer on the street which is particularly worrying. A high pressure cleaner would create aerosol potentially containing Ebola. The virus is particularly sensitive to direct sunlight and may already be inert but safety should be a primary concern at all times.
A suspected case appeared in Hawaii and has tested negative for the virus. Another suspected case is being investigated in Utah as a precaution. The Utah case is considered low risk since the patient traveled from Africa but not an Ebola affected country. Hospitals will continue to behave with caution and it is likely that many more suspected cases will arise.