- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Texas officials said Thursday their decision to order family members of the Ebola patient in Dallas to remain in their apartment for three weeks was justified, after the relatives were “non-compliant” with earlier requests to stay put.

“The actions that we took, while unusual, were prudent,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat who noted that Republican Gov. Rick Perry agreed with him.

While the patient, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, is being treated in isolation at a Dallas hospital, new questions are being raised about his potential contact with infected people in Liberia before he boarded a plane to the U.S.

CNN reports that Mr. Duncan denied ever touching anyone with Ebola when airport screeners questioned him, although witnesses said he lived in close quarters with people who had the virus.

His half-brother, Wilfred Smallwood, told the cable station that Mr. Duncan offered no indication that he might have Ebola before he came to America to be with family and seek work.

Mr. Duncan’s partner, identified as “Louise,” complained to reporter Anderson Cooper that Mr. Duncan’s sweaty sheets were still in her apartment and that she did not know what to do. She was in quarantine with one of her children and two nephews in their 20s.

Officials said the family members understood the legal order to stay home, and that the sheets and other possessions were wrapped up and will be disposed of properly.

They said the family appeared to understand the legal order to stay home.

“I never saw any resistance from them,” Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County’s health department.

Judge Jenkins said the family was quarantined to make sure attempts to do surveillance of the virus’ possible path, known as “contact tracing,” did not go awry.

“I’m concerned about those children in that apartment, but I’m concerned about every other child in the county,” he said.

Officials said they are tracking down about 100 people who may have crossed paths with Mr. Duncan, although their list will be pared down there.

“The circle is a wide circle, then it gets reduced,” Mr. Thompson said.

Five school-age children are being monitored because they interacted with Mr. Duncan prior to his hospitalization on Sunday.

Mike Miles, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, said the children will be hooked into a program that lets them continue their education at home.



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