Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 9th 2014 Contents A29
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DALLAS---The first Ebola
patient diagnosed in the United
States died in a Dallas hospital
yesterday, a little more than a
week after his illness exposed
gaps in the nation s defences
against the disease and set off a
scramble to track down anyone
exposed to him.
Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, was
pronounced dead at 7.51 am at
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital,
where he had been kept in isolation
since September 28.
"Mr Duncan succumbed to an
insidious disease," hospital
spokesman Wendell Watson said
in a statement.
Duncan carried the deadly virus
with him from his home in Liberia,
though he showed no symptoms
when he left for the United States.
He arrived in Dallas on September
20 and fell ill several days later.
His condition worsened during the
weekend from serious to critical.
Others in Dallas still are being
monitored as health officials try
to contain the virus that has rav-
aged West Africa, with more than
3,400 people reported dead. They
also are trying to tamp down anx-
iety among residents frightened
of contracting Ebola, though the
disease can be spread only through
direct contact with the bodily flu-
ids of an already sick person.
Health officials have identified
ten people, including seven health
workers, who had direct contact
with Duncan while he was con-
tagious. Another 38 people also
may have come into contact with
him. The four people living in the
Dallas apartment where Duncan
stayed were moved to another
home and are in isolation.
"The past week has been an
enormous test of our health sys-
tem, but for one family it has been
far more personal...They have our
sincere condolences, and we are
keeping them in our thoughts," Dr.
David Lakey, commissioner of the
Texas Department of State Health
Services, said in statement.
"We ll continue every effort to
contain the spread of the virus and
protect people from this threat."
Of the six Ebola patients treated
so far in the US, Duncan was the
only one not cared for in one of
the special hospital units set up
to deal with highly dangerous
germs. That s because health offi-
cials knew the others had Ebola
at the time they decided where
the patients should go, whereas
Duncan sought care at the Texas
hospital on his own.
Health officials also have said
that any hospital with isolation
capabilities can treat Ebola
patients, but Duncan s death is
sure to renew attention on the
Texas hospital s response, espe-
cially missing the chance to treat
him sooner, when he first sought
Officials have said everyone who
potentially had contact with Dun-
can is being monitored for 21 days,
the normal incubation period for
Duncan passed an airport health
screening in Liberia, where his
temperature registered as normal
and he showed no signs of Ebola
symptoms. But a few days after
he arrived, he began to have a fever,
headache and abdominal pain.
"What we saw was very painful.
It didn t look good," Duncan s
nephew, Josephus Weeks, said
The hospital has changed its
explanation several times about
when Duncan arrived and what
he said about his travel history.
The hospital staff did not initially
suspect Ebola, even though Dun-
can told them on his first visit that
that he came from West Africa.
SAN JUAN---This year's Atlantic
hurricane season is shaping up to be one
of the weakest in decades with only five
named storms formed in the region so
far this year.
That's the fewest named storms
formed during a single full season in the
Atlantic since 1983, when there were
four. Forecasters have projected another
two named Atlantic storms for the rest
of the season that ends on November
30. But there are no signs of any new
ones spinning off Africa's west coast
during what is usually the season's peak
period --- mid-August to late October.
"We've been very fortunate so far,"
said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist
with the Miami-based National Hurricane
"It was expected to be a less than
average season, and so far, that's
panning out. It takes a big slide in
November," Feltgen said, noting the peak
period is about to end.
A typical June-November hurricane
season has 12 named storms, nine of
them hurricanes and three of those
Weakest hurricane season since '83
WASHINGTON---US and coalition
airstrikes have forced some Islamic State
militants out of the Syrian border town
of Kobani, but it may yet fall under the
extremists control because air power
alone cannot prevent it, a Pentagon
spokesman said yesterday.
"Kobani could be taken. We recognise
that," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon
press secretary, told reporters.
"We re doing everything we can from
the air to try to halt the momentum of
ISIL against that town," he added, using
a common acronym for the Islamic State
"Air power is not going to be alone
enough to save that city."
Kirby said Pentagon officials are not
planning to ask President Barack Obama
to commit ground forces to the fight
inside Syria. The US and partner coun-
tries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates, have been
bombing Islamic State targets in Syria
under Obama s order to degrade and
destroy the group. But administration
officials have cautioned that the going
will be slow.
"We all need to prepare ourselves for
the reality that other towns and villages
--- and perhaps Kobani --- will be taken
by ISIL," Kirby said, adding that the key
to eventually defeating the militants is
to train and enable indigenous ground
"We don t have a force inside Syria
that we can cooperate with and work
with," Kirby said. That is why the admin-
istration is planning to train and arm
5,000 moderate opposition Syrian fighters
at sites elsewhere in the Middle East and
then insert them back into Syria to take
on Islamic State forces, Kirby said.
There were airstrikes at six locations
around Kobani on Tuesday, and others
earlier this week. Kirby said there are
mixed reports about how many Islamic
State militants pulled back from the town
under pressure from the air.
Obama was at the Pentagon yesterday
to consult with military leaders on
progress in the campaign to counter the
Islamic State group, and the office of
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he will host a
meeting October 14 near Washington
with his counterparts from about 20 of
the countries that have joined the US in
combating the Islamic State group.
US admits it
may not save
chanting "Assassins!" as they
scuffled with police in front of a
suburban Madrid apartment
complex, made their demand
clear: No matter how desperate
officials might be to stop the
spread of Ebola, an innocent pet
must not be made a casualty.
By nightfall yesterday, that cam-
paign to save one family s dog had
turned into a global outcry when
the protest detonated online, gen-
erating hundreds of thousands of
petition signatures and more social
networking mentions than teen
idol Justin Bieber.
In the end, though, it did no
good --- Spanish health officials
announced the pet had been
euthanised and its body inciner-
The brief but intense battle over
the life of Excalibur, a light brown
mixed breed belonging to a Span-
ish nursing assistant and her hus-
band, began soon after the woman
was diagnosed with the deadly
virus Monday, contracted when
she treated a victim who came
from Sierra Leone.
Officials from Madrid s regional
government got a court order
Tuesday to euthanise the pet,
despite uncertainty over whether
the dog was also infected or risked
spreading the disease to humans.
By that afternoon, 30 to 40 animal
rights activists had taken up posi-
tions outside nursing assistant
Teresa Romero s apartment com-
plex, determined to prevent offi-
cials from entering.
Then Romero s quarantined
husband, Javier, recruited a vet-
erinarian who hosts a popular radio
talk show in a bid to spare his dog s
...Dog of infected Spain nurse killed
First Ebola patient
on US soil dies
Josephus Weeks, left, nephew of Thomas Eric Duncan, stands next to
the Rev Jesse Jackson while speaking to reporters in Dallas on Tuesday.
Duncan died from the Ebola virus yesterday and the family is now
seeking answers. AP PHOTO
Thomas Eric Duncan
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