Ebola fear, monitoring eases for some in Dallas

Emily Schmall; and Bahir Adigun
Associated Press

The people closest to Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan are trying to resume their lives now that they have come out of a 21-day incubation period without developing symptoms of the disease.

Youngor Jallah beamed with pride as she sent her children off to school for the first time in three weeks, with clearance from the Dallas County health department tucked into their backpacks.

A letter dated Oct. 19 and signed by Dallas County’s chief epidemiologist, Wendy Chung, authorized Jallah and her partner, Aaron Yah, to return to work and their children to go back to school “without any restrictions.”

Jallah, a nurse’s assistant, had called an ambulance for Duncan after taking his vital signs early Sept. 28, and for three weeks was wracked with worry that she had contracted the disease and would pass it onto her children.

“We were sitting here traumatized. We just thank God we never came down with the virus,” she told The Associated Press on Monday.

A control order isolating Duncan’s fiancee, Louise Troh, and others who had shared a home with him was lifted Monday, and Troh spent the early afternoon looking for a new place to live with funds collected by the city of Dallas, her church and an anonymous donor.

Health officials said Monday that 43 of 48 people on an original watch list have passed the incubation period safely.

Duncan, who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. — died from the disease Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Others who cared for him remain at risk, along with two nurses he infected and their close contacts. That brings the total to 120 people now being monitored, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization declared Monday that Nigeria is free of Ebola, a rare victory in the months-long battle against the fatal disease.

Nigeria’s containment of Ebola is a “spectacular success story,” WHO’s director for Nigeria said.

The disease continues to spread rapidly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and has claimed more than 4,500 lives.

Ebola updates

■ The unidentified Ebola patient who’s been treated in Atlanta since early September has been released. Emory University Hospital officials said Monday that the man was released Sunday, after he was determined to be free of the virus and no threat to the public.

The man is a doctor who had been working in an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone when he tested positive for the disease.

■Doctors are urging patients to avoid smaller medical centers and head to hospital emergency rooms if they think they’ve been exposed to the virus.

The clinics popping up rapidly across the nation aren’t designed to treat serious illnesses and are ill-equipped to deal with suspected Ebola cases. The Urgent Care Association of America recently sent emails to its roughly 6,400 members asking them to send suspected Ebola cases to hospitals for treatment.