After spending nearly US$1 million, not including money spent by the city of Dallas, the state of Texas, and the federal government have ended monitoring people who may have had contact with America’s first Ebola victim, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan.
According to information reaching the Daily Observer, last Friday ended the monitoring period in Dallas, as well as the State of Texas.
Former American President George W. Bush, who lives in Dallas, visited Presbyterian hospital and greeted nurses and doctors.
President Barack Obama spoke via a conference call Friday afternoon, along with Judge Jenkins, Gov. Rick Perry, Mayor Mike Rawlings and the state health commissioner, Dr. David Lakey, praising their leadership.
A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas W. Skinner, said that the end of monitoring in the Dallas area “shows that the fast isolation of people sick with Ebola and good contact tracing can prevent the spread of the deadly disease.”
However, he warned, “we need to be careful of declaring anything over, because the epidemic continues in West Africa. We want health care workers and hospitals around the country to keep thinking Ebola and to prepare for the possibility of more cases arriving in the United States.”
A total of 177 people were monitored in the Dallas region, with only three cases of Ebola confirmed, in ‘Patient Zero’ as Thomas Eric Duncan was referred to in the U.S. media, and in two nurses who treated him, Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson.
Dallas County’s chief executive Judge Clay Jenkins told journalists, “Thanksgiving came early for Dallas, because we have a lot to be thankful for. It’s a joyous day. This outbreak that began with Eric Duncan is over for Dallas.”
The last person that was being monitored, a hospital worker who handled medical waste on Oct. 17, was cleared by officials last Thursday. He was part of the final group of people undergoing twice-daily checks in the Dallas region for 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the disease.
The 16 people were all health care workers who had possible contacts either with two nurses infected with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, with their bodily fluids or with potentially contaminated surfaces or medical waste.
Fifteen in that group were cleared Thursday, and officials checked the temperature of the last person Friday evening, and found no symptoms.
More than 40 others, who had direct or indirect contact with Eric Duncan were taken off the monitoring list in late October.