US & Canada

Ebola crisis: Family moved out of Texas Ebola flat

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAlastair Leithead reports that 50 people Thomas Duncan had contact with are being monitored for signs of the virus

The occupants of a flat in Texas where a man lay sick for days with Ebola have been moved from their home.

Thomas Duncan, who caught the virus in his native Liberia, is now in a serious condition in hospital. This is the only Ebola case recorded so far in the US.

The flat in Dallas where he lived before being isolated is being cleaned by hazardous materials specialists.

The four people living there have been moved to a private home offered by a volunteer.

Louise Troh, thought to be Mr Duncan's girlfriend, her 13-year-old son and two nephews have spent days inside the flat under the orders of health officials.

The family was driven away from the home in a police car, after officials failed to find shelter for them.

Hotels, flats and others had refused to offer them accommodation, before a private residence was offered.

"No one wants this family,'' said Sana Syed, a Dallas city spokeswoman.

More than 3,431 people have died in four West African countries in what has become the world's worst ever Ebola outbreak.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said the US could deploy as many as 4,000 troops to West Africa to help contain the outbreak.

Although Mr Duncan is the first person to be diagnosed within the US, four Americans have contracted the virus in Liberia.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Duncan, shown here at a 2011 wedding in Ghana

Three aid workers have recovered after flying back to the US for treatment but a fourth, photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, 33, is expected to be flown home over the weekend.

Mr Duncan's diagnosis was confirmed on Tuesday, 10 days after he arrived in the US to visit relatives and friends.

As well as the four who shared his flat, another six people who had contact with Mr Duncan have been identified by Texas health officials as higher risk.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhat do people in Dallas think about the Ebola diagnosis in their city?

Mr Duncan, a courier driver, is believed to have taken a sick patient to a clinic in Liberia.

Authorities there have accused him of lying on an Ebola questionnaire prior to leaving the country and say they plan to prosecute him upon his return.

On Friday, Howard University hospital in Washington DC said a patient had come in with symptoms "associated with Ebola".

He was being kept in isolation while he was tested for the disease. He had recently travelled from Nigeria.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Image copyright SPL
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no proven vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

Ebola virus: Busting the myths