(HealthDay News) — Health officials in Texas say more than 80 people came into contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, on top of the 18 already under surveillance.
The updated count comes after an announcement Wednesday that Dallas County health officials were monitoring a potential second Ebola patient who had close contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, according to news reports. Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told reporters that four or five members of Duncan’s family are now under orders to remain inside their homes, ABC News reported. None of the family members are showing any symptoms of Ebola, authorities stressed.
The original group of 18 under surveillance includes five schoolchildren as well as the three-member ambulance crew that transported Duncan on Sunday to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to published reports. Duncan may have had contact with the five children at a home in Texas over the weekend. The children attend four different schools, including a high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools. The schools will remain open but will undergo a thorough cleaning as a precaution, The New York Times reported. The ambulance workers have tested negative for the virus, and are confined to their homes for observation, the Associated Press reported.
“If anyone develops fever, we’ll immediately isolate them to stop the chain of transmission,” Tom Frieden, MD, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP. People who had contact with Duncan will be monitored for fever during the next 21 days, which is the maximum incubation period for Ebola, Frieden said.