Contacts of First US Ebola Patient Cleared From Watch List

People who came into contact with Ebola patient in Dallas cleared from Ebola watch list after 21 days

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) More than 40 people in Texas breathed a sigh of relief Monday — they had been taken off a watch list for Ebola infection after coming into contact with the first patient diagnosed in the US, Thomas Eric Duncan.

The New York Times reports that the 43 people might have had contact with Duncan, a Liberian man who died of Ebola in Dallas, before he was admitted to the hospital.

Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, and her 13-year-old son were among the potentially exposed. They were both cleared of Ebola, reports CNN.

The Ebola virus can cause Ebola virus disease. This often fatal disease is marked by a high fever, nausea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding. The virus, which has taken more than 4,500 lives in the current outbreak in West Africa, has an incubation period of 21 days. That means patients who do not show symptoms within 21 days of potentially being exposed likely do not have the virus. 

For the 43 patients who were cleared, Monday was the 21st day after they were possibly exposed. Health officials are still monitoring around 120 people who might have been exposed to Ebola, The New York Times reports.

This news comes just after the World Health Organization's recent declarations that both Nigeria and Senegal were Ebola-free, according to BBC Africa. Both countries are near the hardest-hit West African countries — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — and had Ebola cases and deaths. But after six weeks with no new cases, WHO declared Senegal free of Ebola on Friday. Nigeria followed shortly after on Monday. 

NBC News reports that more than 70 health care workers who cared for Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas are still under watch for signs of the virus. Two nurses who cared for Duncan, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, have tested positive for Ebola. They are both in treatment.

Ebola can only spread through close contact with infected body fluids like blood and saliva. To spread the virus, a patient must be showing symptoms.

Review Date: 
October 20, 2014
Last Updated:
October 21, 2014