The man who became the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola made quite a few stops around the world before reaching his final destination in Dallas, the Associated Press reports.
Thomas Eric Duncan’s 28-hour trip from Monrovia in Liberia to Dallas involved flying on two airlines and taking a total of three flights with some 10 hours in layovers in two locations, AP reveals.
His Sept. 19 flight from Liberia took him to Brussels, where he spent seven hours in a layover before making his way to Dulles International Airport in Virginia, where he spent another three hours before boarding his next flight, to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Despite these details, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, assured AP that it was “extraordinarily unlikely” that Duncan infected other passengers because of his lack of symptoms en route to the U.S.
AP reports that news of the first U.S. Ebola victim made some airline investors skittsh: Shares of several major U.S. and European airlines dropped by at least a few percentage points on Wednesday. “The fear is if this gets worse, it would affect people’s travel behavior,” Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. health analyst Joseph DeNardi told AP. However, he noted, health officials “sound confident that they’ve got it under control. Hopefully they’re right.”
However, while people who were on the flight with Duncan may be safe, dozens in Texas are being screened. It is speculated that up to 100 people may have been in contact with Duncan while he was infectious, the Washington Post reports.
“We are working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts and will soon have an official contact tracing number that will be lower,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams said in a statement, according to the report.
“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. The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection,” Williams added.
Possible contacts of Duncan include five children who attend four different schools in the Dallas area. However, only Duncan’s immediate-family members are being regularly monitored for symptoms and have been ordered to avoid contact with others and remain in their homes, the Post notes.
So far, none of the possible contacts have displayed any symptoms of the deadly virus.