Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET
Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42-year-old man who contracted Ebola in Liberia and later traveled to Dallas, where he was being treated, has died, hospital officials say.
A statement from the company that runs Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was in isolation, read:
“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 [local time]. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. 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 arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and became ill within days.
As NPR’s Michaeleen Doucleff reported last month, Duncan “first developed symptoms on Wednesday, Sept. 24, according to the CDC, and first sought care on Friday. On Sunday [Sept. 28], he was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.”
Duncan is believed to have become infected after he helped a pregnant woman with the disease into a taxi in Liberia that was to take her to a hospital. Hospital officials confirmed last week that Duncan had been sent home on Sept. 26 after an initial exam concluded he suffered from a “low-grade common viral disease.” The hospital said that although a nurse, working from an Ebola checklist, determined that he had recently traveled from Liberia, that information was “not communicated to the full team.”
Days after Duncan was put in isolation, health officials said they were tracing as many as 100 people who had either direct or secondary contact with Duncan for monitoring. They subsequently narrowed the list to about 50, with only about 10 people said to have had close contact and be at the greatest risk for the disease — although health officials have repeatedly said the risk was low for all of the “contact traces.”
Duncan had been receiving the experimental drug brincidofovir, which The Associated Press describes as an oral medication being tested by a North Carolina company for use against several other types of viruses.
Member station KERA in Dallas quotes Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, as saying:
“The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts. The doctors, nurses and staff at Presbyterian provided excellent and compassionate care, but Ebola is a disease that attacks the body in many ways. We’ll continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat.”