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Texas Deputy Hospitalized With Possible Ebola Symptoms

By    |   Wednesday, 08 October 2014 05:06 PM

On the same day a man with Ebola in Dallas succumbed to the illness, Texas authorities announced there is another potential case.

Officials in Frisco, located just north of Dallas, said Wednesday that someone who had indirect contact with Dallas patient Thomas Eric Duncan complained of symptoms that could be related to Ebola.

The patient has been identified by family members as Sr. Sgt. Michael Monnig with the Dallas County Sheriff's Office. Monnig was in Duncan's Dallas apartment last week to help serve orders to Duncan's family that they could not leave in order to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. According to several reports, Monnig and other deputies present were not wearing protective gear.

Monnig first visited a CareNow health clinic in West Frisco on Wednesday, which then called for an ambulance around 12:30 p.m. local time when doctors determined it could be another case of Ebola.

In a press conference, Frisco fire chief Mark Piland confirmed that a patient with symptoms that could potentially be related to Ebola was taken to the hospital out of "an overabundance of precautions."

"The hospital staff felt he met the preliminary guidelines and that's why they called," Piland said. "He had several [symptoms], but not all five or six [Ebola symptoms]."

Piland, who would not reveal the identity of the patient, confirmed the patient was in the Dallas apartment where Duncan stayed before he was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 28.

"My understanding is that it was family members that he was in contact with … inside the apartment," Piland said.

Several times during the press conference, Piland stressed this was a "low-risk" case and that fire officials, who dispatched several ambulances and a bus capable of transporting more than a dozen patients at a time to the clinic, were operating out of an abundance of caution.

The fire chief added that the new patient was not one of the 48 people authorities had been monitoring, all who may have had contact with Duncan in the Dallas apartment. And he said that 14 people were potentially exposed to this new patient, from staff and first responders to other patients present at the CareNow clinic.

"We always act on the side of caution. We can't afford to make mistakes," Piland said. "We have to process all the patients as if they have Ebola or other infectious diseases to be on the safe side. I think the response that we did today is appropriate."

Monnig's son Logan told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth  that his father may not have the deadly virus.

"We were told by federal officials, county officials that you would have to come in direct contact with Duncan or direct contact with bodily fluids, and he did not," he said. "He was in the apartment for 30 minutes, which we were told is no chance to contact the virus."

The Dallas County Sheriff's Association told NBC that Monnig did not have Ebola-like symptoms, but that he was not feeling well.

"Right now, there are more questions than answers about this case," Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement, according to CBS Dallas. "Our professional staff of nurses and doctors is prepared to examine the patient, discuss any findings with appropriate agencies and officials. We are on alert with precautions and systems in place."

News of Duncan's death led Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter to demand that the Obama administration provide more specifics about protecting Americans who are sent to West Africa to help fight the epidemic.

"I have serious concerns with the president’s current proposal and fear it does little from keeping the deadly virus out of America," Vitter wrote in a letter to ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which he is a member, and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

President Barack Obama said last month that the Pentagon would reprogram $1 billion of its budget to fight the disease.

The appropriations panel has only approved $50 million. The remainder is to come from separate funds that Congress approved last month in the short-term spending bill that lasts through December.

"We need a heck of a lot more information before they come to Congress pleading for more money," Vitter added in his letter, "especially since the government is not enforcing federal immigration law to bar the entry of a foreign national on specific health-related grounds."

Duncan carried Ebola with him from his home in Liberia. He showed no signs when he left for the United States. He arrived in Dallas Sept. 20 and fell sick a few days later.

He passed an airport health screening in Liberia, where doctors took his temperature and found no other signs of Ebola symptoms. Duncan did not disclose to screening officials that he had been exposed to someone with Ebola in Liberia.

Several other Republicans, including Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, who is the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Panel, have pressed the White House for more specifics on its Ebola plans.

In the House, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky has also raised questions about the administration's effort.

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On the same day a man with Ebola in Dallas succumbed to the illness, Texas authorities announced there is another potential case.
police, deputy, hospitalized, dallas, texas
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 05:06 PM
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