Archive

Ebola monitoring ends in Dallas | TribLIVE.com
News

Ebola monitoring ends in Dallas

The Associated Press
EbolaMonitoringJPEG09670
File - This 2011 photo provided by Wilmot Chayee shows Thomas Eric Duncan at a wedding in Ghana. Thirty-eight days after Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in a local hospital where he died Oct. 8, Dallas calmly marked the end of its Ebola crisis on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, when the last of the 177 people who were being monitored for symptoms of the deadly virus were to be cleared at midnight. (AP Photo/Wilmot Chayee, File)

DALLAS — Dallas calmly marked the end of its Ebola crisis on Friday when the last of the 177 people who were being monitored for symptoms of the deadly virus were to be cleared at midnight.

Thirty-eight days after Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in a local hospital, officials expressed relief and resolve that they were prepared if anything similar — with its resulting panic, fear and constant media attention — ever happened again.

“It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our hometown health care heroes and the city, county, and school district employees that worked so hard, along with our state and federal partners, to keep us safe during the Ebola crisis,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement, calling it an early Thanksgiving for the city.

Monitoring for the last person who came in contact with Duncan or the two nurses who contracted the virus will end at midnight Friday. About 50 people who returned to Texas from West African countries where the virus has killed thousands will remain under monitoring.

The White House said President Obama spoke to state and local officials Friday and thanked them for their leadership.

Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30, sending officials scrambling and residents fearing the worst. He died Oct. 8 in Texas Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan’s fiancee, Louise Troh, and three others were confined to their apartment where Duncan had been staying, before they were moved to private housing.

People panicked over the possible spread of the virus. Jenkins was criticized for entering the apartment to meet with Troh, despite public health experts saying it was safe. Some people refused to shake hands with strangers, and others kept children home from schools where Troh’s children attended.

In the end, no one in the neighborhood was infected. The two people who contracted Ebola were nurses who treated Duncan; Nina Pham and Amber Vinson both have recovered.

Government officials and the hospital have acknowledged missteps in their handling of the crisis, from initially letting Duncan leave the emergency room after his first visit with Ebola-related symptoms to allowing Vinson to fly commercial to Cleveland and back while she was self-monitoring. Vinson has also said in interviews that she didn’t feel prepared to wear the protective equipment necessary to treat Duncan.

The hospital has mounted a major public-relations campaign to apologize for its mistakes.

Officials are also preparing an analysis of how it handled the Duncan case, to likely be published next year.

And while much of the city can breathe a sigh of relief, those closest to Duncan say they’re still angry about his medical treatment and how some have blamed him for bringing Ebola to the United States. With her old apartment torn apart by hazardous materials crews, Troh has had trouble finding a new place to live, as landlords fearful of the virus have refused to rent to her.

Asked about Friday’s milestone, Troh’s thoughts were brief.

“Thank God,” she said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.