Newspaper article International New York Times

Positive Signs for Patient in Texas ; Still in Critical Condition, Liberian Is Being Treated with Experimental Drug

Newspaper article International New York Times

Positive Signs for Patient in Texas ; Still in Critical Condition, Liberian Is Being Treated with Experimental Drug

Article excerpt

Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who is battling the virus, is being treated with an experimental antiviral drug in a Dallas hospital.

The Liberian man battling the Ebola virus is on a ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis, health officials have said, but for the first time doctors have had some positive news about his condition. Relatives who were briefed by doctors said they were told that his temperature and blood pressure were back to normal and that the debilitating diarrhea Ebola brings had slowed.

A little more than a week after testing positive for the virus, the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, remained in critical condition on Tuesday while getting an experimental antiviral drug that doctors hoped would help him recover.

But his family members said they had some reasons to be optimistic.

"We are happy Eric is doing better. If all goes well we will be able to see him," said a nephew, Josephus Weeks.

It is a critical week not just for Mr. Duncan but for the 48 people who had contact with him after he showed signs of the disease. In a city on edge over fears that Ebola could spread, officials have urged calm, saying those potentially exposed to the virus are being tracked and none have showed symptoms.

Dr. David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner, said Tuesday that the next few days could be decisive in determining whether any of the 48 people who came in contact with Mr. Duncan develop the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the maximum incubation period for the virus is 21 days, but symptoms typically appear in eight to 10. Mr. Duncan, who apparently contracted the virus before flying to the United States, began complaining of symptoms on Sept. 24 and was hospitalized in isolation on Sept. 28. The 10-day threshold will pass this week.

Of the 48 people under observation, 10 are deemed to be at high risk, officials said. Three of those people shared an apartment with Mr. Duncan, and seven are health care workers.

"None of them are sick, none of them have a fever," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., said Tuesday.

Dr. Frieden said Mr. Duncan's condition and the lack of new cases were positive signs for what he said would be a long fight against the disease. …

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