More than 100 people in Dallas are being monitored for symptoms of Ebola after coming into contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan or others who Duncan had met, health officials said.
“We are working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts and will soon have an official contact tracing number that will be lower,” a spokeswoman said.
The department says the list includes ‘people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home.
Officials say they don’t believe anywhere near that number of people have actually been exposed to Ebola, and so far, nobody except for Duncan has tested positive for the disease.
Officials said today that 12 of the 100 people are at greatest risk fo getting the disease.
Meanwhile, Health Department spokeswoman Carrie Williams told Newsradio that the extreme step of quarantining four members of Duncan’s family was taken because the four were not cooperating with health officials.
“This is not a common measure that we take,” she said. “The family has been previously instructed to stay home, but we felt that a strict public health control order was needed to make sure the family was complying. The family has had some challenges following the direction to stay home, and this locked them into following a strict order.”
She says the four people will not be allowed to leave their homes or to have visitors in their home until October 19, without permission from state officials.
“Texas law gives us the ability to do this,” she said. “If people do not follow orders, they can face criminal charges.”
She didn’t say if the four people quarantined are adults or children, or what their relationship is to Duncan.
Officials also didn’t say if they are in the same home or in different homes.