DALLAS (CN) – A Dallas County sheriff’s deputy on Thursday tested negative for Ebola, allaying public fears of an outbreak after the only U.S. Ebola fatality.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Monnig checked into a Care Now urgent care clinic in Frisco Wednesday afternoon, telling employees he had contact with Thomas Earl Duncan, a Liberian who was the first confirmed domestic case of Ebola.
Duncan had died hours earlier at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where he had been quarantined for 10 days.
Monnig was among several Dallas County officials who entered a north Dallas apartment on Oct. 1 to serve a quarantine order on Duncan’s immediate family. The negative test was confirmed Thursday afternoon by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted that the negative test was “as expected” since there is “zero chance” of submission from an “asymptomatic person.”
None of Duncan’s family members subject to the quarantine order have shown symptoms of Ebola. Monnig did not have direct contact with Duncan at any time.
Presbyterian officials said they “are relieved” for Monnig and his family that he tested negative for Ebola.
“Regarding the next steps for this patient, physicians will determine the best course of treatment and the date for a hospital release,” the hospital said in a statement. Presbyterian has faced fierce criticism for releasing Duncan with only antibiotics after his first visit and admitting him two days later when he showed symptoms of Ebola.
The hospital defended the actions of its staff.
“Mr. Duncan’s physicians treated him with the most appropriate and available medical interventions, including the investigative antiviral drug Brincidofovir,” the hospital said in a statement Thursday.
“After consulting with experts across the country, the CDC, and the FDA, the investigative drug was administered as soon as his physicians determined that his condition warranted it, and as soon as it could be obtained. Mr. Duncan was the first Ebola patient to receive this drug.”
ZMapp, the experimental Ebola drug that made headlines when it may have saved the lives of Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol, was not given to Duncan because it was not available, Presbyterian said.
Duncan also did not receive the same type of serum transfusion that an Ebola patient in Nebraska received because “his blood type was not compatible” with available donors.
The hospital said Duncan died after his heart stopped while in intensive care.
“Early in his hospital stay, Mr. Duncan had expressed his wishes to his attending physician that the care team should not perform chest compressions, defibrillation or cardioversion to prolong his life,” the hospital said.
Presbyterian also denied accusations by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price that Duncan was sent home his first visit because he was poor, black and uninsured.
“We’d like to correct some misconceptions that have been reported about Mr. Duncan’s first visit,” the hospital said. “Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. In this case that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area.”
A team of 50 staff members cared for Duncan in a 24-bed intensive care unit, Presbyterian said.
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