The first man diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. got much sicker shortly after a Dallas hospital diagnosed him with a fever and sent him home, says a woman who calls the man her stepfather and took his temperature.
Younger Jallah told the Wall Street Journal she now fears for her own health. She is also worried that her children may have been exposed to the deadly disease when they went with her to her mother's Texas apartment to see Thomas Duncan.
Jallah is a 35-year-old nurse's aide and the daughter of Louise Troh, Duncan’s girlfriend. He traveled from Ebola-racked Liberia to visit Troh on Sept. 21. Troh and Duncan met in West Africa. They have a college-age son.
"I knocked at the door and he gave me a big hug," Jallah told the Journal, describing her initial encounter with him and the first time she had ever seen him.
She said that after several days Duncan seemed fatigued, content to just lie on the couch and watch television. She said her mother called her and said she was taking him to the hospital.
That was Friday Sept. 26. Troh brought Duncan to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Doctors sent him home with a prescription for antibiotics.
Two days later, Jallah told the Journal in a story published Friday, her mother called her again. "She said, 'Your step-daddy is not feeling OK,'" she said. "He's been going to the bathroom all night. You should come over and fetch him some breakfast.'"
The woman said Duncan had been up all night with diarrhea. She took his temperature and blood pressure. He was running a 104 fever and his blood pressure was low.
She said she knew well that Ebola was a big problem in Liberia. Duncan didn’t tell her he had been in contact with anyone who was sick but she wasn’t taking any chances.
"I said you need to go to the hospital," she said, according to the Journal.
Duncan is now in an isolation ward at the hospital.
The hospital has said that during his first visit, Duncan told nurses that he had recently come from Liberia but that information wasn’t relayed to doctors because of glitch with its electronic health records system.
But on Friday evening the hospital changed that account. It now says there wasn’t an electronic records glitch, The New York Times reported Saturday. The hospital said "the patient's travel history was document and available to the ful care team in the electronic health record (E.H.R), including with the physician's workflow," the paper reported.
Jallah told the Associated Press Friday that she is wracked with regret she did not take greater precautions in her dealings with Duncan. She also said she is not kissing or hugging her children, ages, 2,4 and 6 or her partner’s 11-year-old son, or sharing dishes with him.
Health officials have told Jallah to keep her family at home. But unlike at her mother's apartment, there were not armed guards in front to prevent them from leaving.
On Friday a hazardous-materials crew on Friday decontaminated Troh’s apartment, while public-health officials cut by half the number of people being monitored for any symptoms of the deadly disease.
Hours later, Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews were moved to a private residence in a gated community that was offered by a volunteer.
The decontamination team was to collect bed sheets, towels and a mattress used by the infected man before he was hospitalized, as well as a suitcase and other personal items belonging to Duncan, officials said.
The materials were sealed in industrial barrels that were to be stored in trucks until they can be hauled away for permanent disposal.
Federal transportation and disease-control officials issued an emergency special permit Friday to allow an Illinois-based company to haul away and dispose of the materials — not only from the apartment but also any from the hospital where Duncan is receiving treatment.
The first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S. has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,400 people in West Africa could spread in the U.S. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.
Elsewhere, NBC News reported that an American freelance cameraman working for the network in Liberia has tested positive for the virus and will be flown back to the United States, along with the rest of the news crew.
The Associated Press contributed to this report