The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials are seeking 132 people who flew on a plane with a Texas nurse on the day before she came down with symptoms of Ebola.
The nurse, the second person to catch Ebola in the US, became ill on October 14.
Both she and nurse Nina Pham, 26, had treated Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on October 8, in Dallas.
Meanwhile, the UN’s Ebola mission chief says the world is falling behind in the race to contain the virus, which has killed more than 4,000 in West Africa.
On October 15, the CDC said it wanted to interview the passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas on October 13.
It said it was taking the measure “because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning”.
The CDC officials are seeking 132 people who flew on a plane with a Texas nurse on the day before she came down with symptoms of Ebola
Both the newly diagnosed nurse, who has yet to be identified, and Nina Pham treated Thomas Eric Duncan early in his stay at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when he had “extensive production of body fluids”, CDC director Tom Frieden told reporters on Wednesday.
The second nurse flew to Cleveland on 10 October, even though she had had “extensive contact” with Thomas Eric Duncan and was being monitored for signs of Ebola and therefore should not have flown on a commercial aeroplane, Dr. Tom Frieden said.
Nina Pham subsequently became ill and was diagnosed with Ebola. When the second nurse returned from Ohio on Monday evening, she was not showing symptoms of the disease, the crew has told CDC investigators.
Health experts say people who are not showing symptoms are not contagious.
“We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” Dr. Tom Frieden said, meaning, for example, in chartered flights or ambulances.
On the morning of October 14, the second nurse came down with a fever and was isolated within 90 minutes. Her diagnosis was announced early on October 15.
One of the ill women is to be transferred to Emory University hospital in Atlanta, which oversaw the recovery of two US aid workers who had caught the disease in Africa.
The occupants of the Dallas flat where Thomas Eric Duncan lay sick for days with Ebola have been moved from their home.
Thomas Eric Duncan, who caught the virus in his native Liberia, is now in a serious condition in hospital. This is the only Ebola case recorded so far in the US.
The flat in Dallas where he lived before being isolated is being cleaned by hazardous materials specialists.
The four people living there have been moved to a private home offered by a volunteer.
Louise Troh, thought to be Thomas Eric Duncan’s girlfriend, her 13-year-old son and two nephews have spent days inside the flat under the orders of health officials.
The family was driven away from the home in a police car, after officials failed to find shelter for them.
Hotels, flats and others had refused to offer them accommodation, before a private residence was offered.
“No one wants this family,” said Sana Syed, a Dallas city spokeswoman.
More than 3,431 people have died in four West African countries in what has become the world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak.
The flat in Dallas where Thomas Eric Duncan lived before being isolated is being cleaned by hazardous materials specialists (photo AP)
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the US could deploy as many as 4,000 troops to West Africa to help contain the outbreak.
Although Thomas Eric Duncan is the first person to be diagnosed within the US, four Americans have contracted the virus in Liberia.
Three aid workers have recovered after flying back to the US for treatment but a fourth, photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, 33, is expected to be flown home over the weekend.
Thomas Eric Duncan’s diagnosis was confirmed on September 30, 10 days after he arrived in the US to visit relatives and friends.
As well as the four who shared his flat, another six people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan have been identified by Texas health officials as higher risk.
Thomas Eric Duncan, a courier driver, is believed to have taken a sick patient to a clinic in Liberia.
Authorities there have accused him of lying on an Ebola questionnaire prior to leaving the country and say they plan to prosecute him upon his return.
On October 3, Howard University hospital in Washington DC said a patient had come in with symptoms “associated with Ebola”.
The patient was being kept in isolation while he was tested for the disease. He had recently travelled from Nigeria.
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Liberia will prosecute Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the US, accusing him of lying over his contact with an infected relative.
When he left the country last month, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan filled in a questionnaire saying that none of his relatives were sick.
However, Liberia’s assistant health minister said Thomas Eric Duncan had taken a sick relative to a clinic in a wheelbarrow.
Thomas Eric Duncan is in a serious condition in a Dallas hospital.
His is the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed on US soil, where as many as 100 people are being checked for exposure to the deadly virus.
More than 3,330 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in four West African countries.
Liberia’s prosecution announcement was made at the weekly Ebola update news conference, which is attended by numerous government officials and was dominated by the case of Thomas Eric Duncan.
Thomas Eric Duncan is the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the US (photo Facebook)
“We wish him a speedy recovery; we await his arrival in Liberia to face prosecution,” Binyah Kesselly, the chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, said.
Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson confirmed that Thomas Eric Duncan would be prosecuted as he “lied under oath about his Ebola status”.
Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah explained at the briefing that he was investigating Thomas Eric Duncan’s movements before he left Liberia on September 19.
He said Thomas Eric Duncan works as a driver in Liberia for Save-Way Cargo, a subsidiary of the international courier service FedEx, and lives in the Paynesville 72nd Community suburb of Monrovia.
Eric Vaye, a neighbor of Thomas Eric Duncan’s, was also at the briefing to help with contact tracing, and said that nine people had died of Ebola in the district in recent weeks.
Thomas Eric Duncan is alleged to have pushed the wheelbarrow when taking a sick relative to a clinic.
This is banned and people are obliged to phone a hotline number to ensure that patients are collected by health workers so further contact with sick people is avoided.
Tolbert Nyenswah said it was “less likely” that Thomas Eric Duncan had passed on the disease when in Liberia because he was not showing signs before he left.
According to the latest UN figures, there have been 7,178 confirmed Ebola cases, with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea suffering the most.
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