US EBOLA PATIENT HELPED CARRY CONVULSING PREGNANT WOMAN JUST FOUR DAYS BEFORE HE FLEW FROM LIBERIA TO TEXAS
Officials confirmed this week the first patient has been diagnosed with the deadly disease on U.S. soil.
Thomas Eric Duncan flew back into the U.S. on September 20 from Liberia, touching down in Brussels and Washington en route.
It emerged just four days before Mr Duncan boarded a plane bound for Dallas, Texas, he helped carry his landlord’s convulsing daughter to a Liberian clinic to be treated for Ebola.
The woman, named by the New York Times as 19-year-old Marthalene Williams died the next day, after being turned away from the overcrowded hospital that didn’t have room for her.
The landlord’s son and three neighbors who came in contact with the woman also died soon afterwards.
But Mr Duncan wasn’t showing any symptoms when he arrived at a Monrovia airport on September 19, and therefore was allowed on a flight out of Liberia bound for the U.S.
Current policy dictates that only those displaying symptoms of the disease are barred from flying. But Ebola can hide in the system for up to 21 days, raising serious concerns the disease will start turning up around the world.
In Liberia, Mr Duncan worked moving cargo for FedEx, but had recently quit his job when he acquired a visa to visit the U.S. where his son reportedly lives.
He is one of an estimated 13,500 people from the Ebola hot-spot countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia who currently hold visas to visit the U.S. and could possibly spread the outbreak.
However, that estimate takes into account all people from these West African countries who are already in the U.S., and those who have been to America and since returned home. It’s still uncertain the exact number of visas waiting to be used for travel to the U.S.