U.S. patient with Ebola dies at Dallas hospital

Posted at 11:24 AM, Oct 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-08 12:04:04-04

(CNN) — The first patient to be diagnosed Ebola in the United States died Wednesday, a Dallas hospital said.

Thomas Eric Duncan was being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sept. 25.

“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. 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.”

Duncan was screened for the virus before flying from Liberia to the U.S. on Sept. 19, but he didn’t show symptoms until he was in Dallas for several days.

Duncan had been on a ventilator and on dialysis for failing kidneys in the days before his death, health officials said.

The Liberian man received an experimental medicine nearly a week after being admitting into the hospital, a far longer wait than experienced by four other Ebola patients — all Americans — treated in the U.S.

People the CDC has identified as having contact with Duncan are being closely monitored and their temperatures taken twice a day. On Tuesday, the agency’s director said that none of those being monitored have shown symptoms.

Ebola is not transmitted through the air, said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

“There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood,” he stressed.

Duncan’s death comes as U.S. officials said airports in the country will start taking temperatures of arriving passengers who have flight itineraries originating from West African countries where Ebola is concentrated.

There have been 4,108 confirmed cases of Ebola worldwide as of Sept. 30, the most recent date for which data is available. Of those patients, 3,439 have died, according to CDC.

There is no specific treatment to cure Ebola or a licensed vaccine. Patients who become severely ill require intensive supportive care, according to WHO, including frequent rehydration through intravenous fluids.

Four other Ebola patients have been treated in the U.S.

NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo is “reasonably stable,” but a doctor cautioned it’s too early to say he’s out of the woods. The American citizen became infected in Liberia, and he was airlifted to Omaha, Nebraska, for treatment Sunday. He’s receiving an experimental drug called brincidofovir, or CMX001.

Dr. Kent Brantly, an Ebola survivor, has donated his blood to Mukpo, which may contain life-saving antibodies, according to the Samaritan’s Purse aid group. Brantly previously did the same for another Ebola patient, Dr. Rick Sacra, who was treated at the same Omaha center as Mukpo and survived.