As many as a hundred people might have come into contact with U.S. Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan or one of his family members before he was hospitalized, Dallas County health officials said Thursday. However, not all of them were necessarily in close physical contact with the Liberian national, Dallas County’s Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said. That number is in addition to the 12-18 people who had direct contact with Duncan, including some school-age children, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday.
It’s unclear if Duncan was already showing symptoms of the virus when he or his family in North Dallas came into contact with the estimated 80 people. But those contacts will be investigated, questioned and monitored to determine exactly how close they got. Most, if not all of them, were notified Wednesday. Duncan, who was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after complaining of a fever and abdominal pain, remains in stable but serious condition. He’s the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., and only began showing symptoms after arriving in the country on Sept. 20.
— Kate Snow and Karen Stern