Thomas Eric Duncan has died in hospital in Texas of Ebola. The news was announced on Facebook by Texas Presbyterian hospital, where he was being treated. He was a Liberian national who was in Dallas, Texas, visiting his sister. He died at 8:51 a.m. Eastern time.
In recent days it had been reported that Duncan’s condition had deteriorated. Texas Presbyterian said in its statement announcing his death that Duncan “fought courageously in his battle.”
Here’s what we know so far:
1. He Received an Experimental Drug Never Before Used on an Ebola Patient
The drug he was given was brincidofovir, a drug that’s been tested on animals. It was the first time the drug was tested on a human with Ebola. The manufacturer of the drug, Chimerix, had to receive permission from the FDA to supply the drug to fight the deadly virus. The World Health Organization went as far as to publish a paper on the ethics of treating Ebola patients with brincidofovir.
2. The Liberian Government Won’t Get to Prosecute Him
The Liberian government had said that it would prosecute Duncan for lying on health forms when he left the country in September. Duncan denied on the forms that he had come into contact with anybody suffering from Ebola. On October 7, it was also reported that the Dallas County prosecutor was considering criminal charges against Duncan.
3. He Got the Disease Trying to Save the Life of a Pregnant Neighbor
Duncan contracted the disease while helping a pregnant neighbor who was suffering with the disease get to a hospital, according to The New York Times. The area where Duncan lived in Liberia was rife with Ebola outbreaks and that many of that girl’s family had died from the disease.
4. His Family Are Still Being Held in Quarantine
Duncan’s extended family had been held in quarantine in their Dallas apartment while Duncan was being treated for Ebola. It was feared that he may have infected multiple people with the virus, including school-aged children. Hazmat squads and armed guards were used at Duncan’s sister, Mai Wureh’s, home. The family are required to remain in the quarantine for 21 days.
5. The Day Before His Death, a Nurse’s Aide Was Diagnosed With Ebola in Spain
Just before Duncan died, a nurse in Spain who had been in Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola. She’s believed to be the first person to contract the disease outside of Africa. Authorities think she may have been exposed to Ebola while touching her face with a protective glove. Dr. German Ramirez who is treating the woman told the media:
That’s what we were working on — on the errors possibly made while removing the protective suit. I’ve spoken to her three times, and she has authorized me to give this information.