Dallas officials are searching for an individual who may have had low-risk contact with the Dallas Ebola patient in order to monitor his temperature, health officials announced Sunday.
“We have our Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas Police Department on the ground now,” Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins, director of the county's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said at a press conference. “We are working to locate the individual and get him to a comfortable, compassionate place where we can monitor him and care for his every need during the full monitoring period.”
Ebola has an incubation period up to 21 days, so people at risk for the disease -- those who have had direct or indirect contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan -- are having their temperatures checked by health officials for three weeks after their last contact or potential contact with Duncan.
Jenkins emphasized that the man being sought has not committed any crime and is considered a low-risk individual who has not exhibited any symptoms of Ebola. “We are doing this as a precautionary measure,” he said.
The man had been monitored up until Saturday, when his temperature was taken, Jenkins said. Because he is homeless, Jenkins said, authorities want to bring him to a safe place where he can continue to be monitored.
Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also gave more information about the individuals who are currently being monitored by health officials for Ebola. He said they have identified 10 people who had contact with Duncan when he might possibly have been infectious. Of those 10, seven are health care workers, and three are family or community contacts.
There are also about 38 other people whom health officials have not been able to rule out as having had contact, bringing the total of those being monitored to 48. So far none of the people considered at risk has shown any symptoms of Ebola.