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Monday, 6 October 2014

Liberian Ebola Patient in Dallas Fighting for his Life

                                   

The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was fighting for his life at a Dallas hospital on Sunday and appeared to be receiving none of the experimental medicines for the virus, a top U.S. health official said.

Thomas Eric Duncan became ill after arriving in the Texas city from Liberia two weeks ago, heightening concerns that the worst Ebola epidemic on record could spread from West Africa, where it began in March. The hemorrhagic fever has killed at least 3,400 people out of the nearly 7,500 probable, suspected and confirmed cases.

"The man in Dallas, who is fighting for his life, is the only patient to develop Ebola in the United States," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on CNN's "State of the Union."

In a media briefing with reporters on Sunday, Frieden said he was scheduled to brief President Barack Obama on Monday.

Frieden said doses of the experimental medicine ZMapp were "all gone" and that the drug, produced by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, is "not going to be available anytime soon."

Asked about a second experimental drug, made by Canada's Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp, he said it "can be quite difficult for patients to take."

Frieden said the doctor and the patient's family would decide whether to use the drug, but if "they wanted to, they would have access to it."

"As far as we understand, experimental medicine is not being used," Frieden said. "It’s really up to his treating physicians, himself, his family what treatment to take."

Duncan remained in critical condition, Wendell Watson, spokesman for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, said on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, health officials said they were also seeking a "low-risk" homeless man who was one of 38 people who had potentially had contact with Duncan. Later on Sunday, a spokeswoman for Dallas County's top political official, Judge Clay Jenkins, said the man had been found and was being monitored.

Reuters

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