U.S. Ebola patient identified as Liberian national – had contact with children

The patient with Ebola in Dallas was identified Wednesday as Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian by nationality, according to an acquaintance of the sick man and a Liberian government official.

The acquaintance, who asked not to be identified, said Mr. Duncan would travel “every so often” to the U.S. from Liberia to visit friends and was familiar to Liberians living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The acquaintance confirmed reports that Mr. Duncan grew ill, went the hospital and left after being given medicine.

Mr. Duncan returned to the hospital when his symptoms didn’t go away, the acquaintance said.

Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown confirmed Mr. Duncan’s nationality, but said he didn’t have additional details on him. The patient left Liberia aboard a Brussels Airlines NV flight that transited through the Belgian capital.

During the time before Mr. Duncan was admitted to the hospital, he possibly came in contact with five children in Dallas, ranging from elementary to high-school age, as well as other members of the patient’s family, state and local officials said at a news conference Wednesday.

Local officials were monitoring between 12 and 18 close contacts of the patient, including the five children who had been ordered to stay at home, said Christopher Perkins, the Dallas County Health and Human Services Medical Director/Health Authority. Dr. Perkins said the children hadn’t been quarantined.

As of yet, none of those suspected of coming into contact with Mr. Duncan has exhibited symptoms of Ebola, officials indicated.

The five children who have been ordered to stay at home did attend school earlier this week, according to Mike Miles, the Superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District. But he emphasized the students haven’t yet demonstrated symptoms of Ebola, and so they were believed to have posed no threat to their fellow students. He said additional health care professionals will be on site at the schools to monitor students and extra custodial staff had been dispatched to clean the schools.

“It’s business as usual,” Mr. Miles said.