Updated 1:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Health workers have identified about 100 people who came into first- or second-degree contact with the first confirmed Ebola patient in the U.S. or with his family, officials said Thursday, as the patient’s family was ordered to stay at home in isolation.
Health experts have been tracking down anyone who could have come into contact with the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who first went to a Texas hospital for medical care on Sept. 25, days after arriving in the U.S. from Liberia. Duncan was initially sent home despite having told hospital staff of his recent travel from Ebola-ridden West Africa, but he was brought back two days later as his symptoms worsened.
The group of 100 people were not necessarily close to the patient but may have had some level of contact with him, Zachary Thompson, the director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services told NBC.
Health officials in Texas have also ordered four family members who had contact with Duncan to stay at home and not have visitors, the Department of State Health Services said in a statement. The family members, who have not shown symptoms, are legally compelled to comply until at least Oct. 19, when the incubation period for the virus will have passed. The virus is not contagious until symptoms appear.
“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner, said in a statement. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”
Separately, a man in Hawaii is being treated in isolation for what health officials say is a potential Ebola case, though he could be sick with some other ailment. The virus has infected more than 7,200 people primarily in Western Africa and killed more 3,300, making it the most deadly Ebola outbreak ever.
This post has been updated to reflect an increased number of people who are being monitored for Ebola-like symptoms and to clarify the degree of their contact with Duncan as well as details about Duncan’s initial hospital visit.