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Dozens May Have Been Exposed To U.S. Ebola Patient

Four days before he left Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan brought an ailing neighbor infected with the deadly Ebola virus to the hospital. More than a week later, he is fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital, infected with the disease.

Duncan was the first man who became infected with the virus in the United States. He was infected with the virus back in his home country but symptoms only appeared after he reached Dallas. He is in critical but stable condition at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital, the same hospital that sent him home on September 24 when he complained of flu. He was only given an antibiotic despite informing the nurse he was from West Africa, the region where thousands have died of Ebola in recent months.

At least 80 people are believed to have a direct contact with the patient when he was having an active symptoms, five of them are children who attend Dallas public schools–one high school, middle school and two elementary schools, The New York Times reported.

They are quarantined and under observation, and none of them has symptoms so far, local health officials said.

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said they are currently working on a list of potential people who had a brief encounter with Duncan and will soon have an official tracing number, Reuters reported.

“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,” said

The Texas Presbyterian Hospital is now under fire of not taking necessary precautions and not being alert from people coming from West African countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for possible Ebola cases. Nonetheless, health officials assure the public that the infection is contained.

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