No one who was around Thomas Duncan, the Ebola patient in Dallas, has shown any indication of having contracted the virus, authorities said Thursday. Judge Clay Jenkins, the top elected official in Dallas County, told reporters: “This is a matter that we have a high degree of confidence we can control.”
County health officials said earlier in the day that as many as 100 people might have come into contact with Duncan, or people close to him, before he was hospitalized. Using door-to-door visits, disease detectives are tracking those people down to watch for symptoms. The potential incubation period for Ebola is 21 days, so an absence of symptoms now does not rule out infection.
Four relatives of Duncan are under orders to stay in their apartment for at least two weeks. Jenkins said that the county has identified a contractor to disinfect the apartment. Some sheets and personal belongings of Duncan’s have been placed in sealed plastic bags and will be disposed of safely, Jenkins said. Earlier in the day, the American Red Cross and a local food bank delivered boxes of food for the family. Jenkins described the supply as several days’ worth.
“Those people in that apartment are part of Dallas County, and they are going to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity in this unusual situation,” he said.
— Erin McClam