(DALLAS) — The family of the Texas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, have been ordered to stay in their home after violating officials’ initial request not to leave.
“There were violations of the request to not leave their premises,” Dallas judge Clay Jenkins said of the breach that prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to order the quarantine.
Duncan was staying with family members in Dallas when he became ill and was confined to an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. His family members, including five school-age children, were told to remain at home.
The entire apartment complex is being power-washed Thursday.
The order came as authorities track all the people who Duncan is believed to have come in contact with since his arrival. The circle of people who have come into contact with him has grown rapidly from 18 Wednesday night to 100, according to Texas health officials.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we’re starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson Carrie Wilson said in a statement. “The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection.”
A team of 10 experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in Dallas and will be helping the local health officials “find, assess, and assist everyone who came into contact” with Duncan, according to a CDC news release.
Disease detectives, a public health adviser and senior scientists are included in the team.
“We are stopping Ebola in its tracks in this country,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in the release. “We can do that because of two things: strong infection control that stops the spread of Ebola in health care; and strong core public health functions to trace contacts, track contacts, isolate them if they have any symptoms and stop the chain of transmission. I am certain we will control this.”
Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, addressed the control order.
“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” Lakey said in the statement. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”
Authorities say the family members do not currently have symptoms of Ebola, which include fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain. The order will continue until at least Oct. 19.
Duncan flew from Liberia to Brussels on Sept. 19. He continued to Washington’s Dulles Airport, before flying to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on a United Airlines flight.
Authorities with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said airline passengers and flight crew members aren’t at risk for Ebola because Duncan wasn’t exhibiting symptoms until days later, but his diagnosis has left residents in Dallas on edge, with scrutiny for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which allowed the man to leave after he told a nurse he had come from West Africa.
Duncan returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later. He remains in an isolation unit, listed in serious condition.
Mark Lester, the executive vice president of Texas Health Resources, said a communication issue was responsible for the lapse.
“Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” Lester said.
Duncan spoke on the phone Wednesday with family members who live near Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We talked today (with Duncan) and we prayed together with his mother and sister here,” said Joe Weeks, who lives with Duncan’s sister Mai.
Weeks said that the family is concerned that Duncan was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation on Sunday, but hasn’t received the experimental Ebola drugs.
“I don’t understand why he is not getting the Zmapp,” Weeks said.
The manufacturer of the drug has said they have run out of the experimental medicine.
Duncan’s former boss in Monrovia, Liberia, said the patient had been his driver for the last year or two until he abruptly left his job in early September.
“I really don’t know,” why he left, Henry Brunson, general manager of Safeway Cargo, told ABC News. “He didn’t resign. He just left the office. He just walked away.”
Brunson didn’t know where Duncan went until he saw him on the news as the Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas.
Duncan’s identity emerged as Texas health officials outlined efforts to track and monitor the people Duncan was in contact with since becoming sick over the weekend.
Three ambulance crew members who brought Duncan to the hospital were also tested for Ebola. The tests were negative, but the crew members were sent home and will be monitored for the next three weeks, the city said in a statement.
Frieden has said he believes the disease will be “stopped in its tracks” in this country.
Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed more than 3,300 people, with nearly 7,200 cases reported since the outbreak began in March.
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