The PJ Tatler

Did Patient Zero Come to the U.S. Because He Had Ebola? (Updated: Is This Him?)

Sift through the facts presented in this New York Times story about Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who has a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas.

He came into direct contact with a friend who had Ebola. He rode with her in a taxi and carried her from the taxi to a hospital on September 15, four days before he flew to the United States. She was turned away from the hospital because the Ebola ward was full.

She died of Ebola early the following morning. Her brother also got sick and shows Ebola symptoms. That was at the same time that Duncan started getting sick. He left Liberia and arrived in Texas on September 20. Six days later he sought treatment at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, and was sent home. He returned two days later, and has been confirmed to be infected with Ebola.

Duncan also abruptly quit his job on September 4, so he might have already planned the trip to see his family in the U.S.

But he certainly knew that he had been exposed to Ebola by the time he boarded that plane and came to Texas, four days after his friend died of it. He must surely have known it when he first visited the Texas Presbyterian Hospital, and he must have known it when the doctors sent him home.

And yet he went home, and exposed others, including children. Did he come to the U.S., knowing that he could get treatment here — but also aware that he was transporting the disease without alerting any authorities?

Update: This appears to be his Facebook page. This Thomas Eric Duncan is from Liberia, as is the Dallas Ebola patient, and he has a sister named Mai Wureh. The Facebook page links to a “friend” with the same unusual name.

This would be Thomas Eric Duncan, then.