The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has died, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Wednesday.
The news of Thomas Eric Duncan's passing comes as those he came into contact with enter a critical period this week in determining whether they have also contracted the deadly virus.
Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 28, after flying to the U.S. from Liberia. He first went to the Dallas hospital with a fever on Sept. 26, but was sent home, despite telling a nurse he came from the Ebola-stricken country. The information did not reach doctors at the hospital, and he was discharged with antibiotics.
Texas officials continue to monitor 10 people who had direct contact with him while he was symptomatic, as well as 38 others who may have had contact. None have shown symptoms of the disease to this point.
The incubation period of Ebola is a maximum of 21 days, with symptoms commonly beginning to present eight to 10 days after exposure. If Duncan passed the virus onto anyone else, that would likely become evident this week.
"Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle," the hospital said in a statement. "Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time."
(Image via Flickr user Creations)