Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital

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Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 04: Eric Williams (C) , a U.S. Congressional candidate, Steve Oriabure (L), from the Organization of Nigerian Nationals, and Shadiya Abdi speak to the media outside the Ivy Apartment complex where the confirmed Ebola virus patient was staying on October 4, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. They spoke to the media on their concerns about how the Ebola case is affecting the community. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A man leaves a wheelbarrow containuing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus, follwed by her relatives at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 02: A woman delivers bottled water and toilet paper to residents in a unit at the Ivy Apartments, where the confirmed Ebola virus patient was staying, on October 2, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The first confirmed Ebola virus patient in the United States was staying with family members at The Ivy Apartment complex before being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. State and local officials are working with federal officials to monitor other individuals that had contact with the confirmed patient. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Thomas Duncan carries a woman HRS before she dies from #Ebola, then travels to TX. @CDCgov team now in Dallas. @AMHQ http://t.co/udwtA0eiGH
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 01: Texas Govenor Rick Perry answers questions related to the first confirmed case of the Ebola virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on October 1, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. State and local officials are working with federal officials to monitor other individuals that had contact with the confirmed patient. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, answers questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, answers questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A medical transport van moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, explains the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the disease on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, explains the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the disease on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance.

The Dallas Ebola case, involving a man who flew back to the United States last month from Liberia, has prompted national concern over the potential for a wider spread of the deadly virus from West Africa, where at least 3,338 people have died in the worst outbreak on record.

U.S. health officials have said the country's healthcare system is well prepared to contain any spread of Ebola through careful tracking of people who had contact with the patient and appropriate care for those admitted to hospital.

"His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place," resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said on Wednesday, describing the chaotic scene before the man was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he is in serious condition.

The hospital cited the stricken man's privacy as the reason for not identifying him. However, Gee Melish, who said he was a family friend, identified the man as Thomas Eric Duncan.

The New York Times said that Duncan, in his mid-40s, helped transport a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola to a hospital in Liberia, where she was turned away for lack of space. Duncan helped bring the woman back to her family's home and carried her into the house, where she later died, the newspaper reported.

Man With the Ebola Virus Flew Roundabout Trip to United States, Sparking Concern

Four days later Duncan left for the United States, the Times said, citing the woman's parents and neighbors.

Texas health officials said that up to 18 people, including five children, had contact with the Ebola patient since he returned to the United States in late September. The children had gone to school early this week but have since been sent home and are being monitored for symptoms.

Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva, which health experts say limits its potential to infect others, unlike airborne diseases.

Still, the long window of time before patients exhibit signs of infection, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, means an infected person can travel without detection.

Airline and hotel company shares dropped sharply on U.S. markets on Wednesday over concerns that Ebola's spread outside Africa might curtail travel.

Drugmakers with experimental Ebola treatments in the pipeline saw their shares rise.

SENT HOME

The Dallas patient had initially sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital late last Thursday and was sent home with antibiotics rather than being observed further, even though he told a nurse he had recently returned from West Africa. By Sunday, he needed an ambulance to return to the same hospital, where he was admitted.

A nurse asked about the travel as part of a triage checklist and was told about it. "Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full teams. As a result, the full import of that information wasn't factored into the full decision making," Texas hospital official Mark Lester said.

Infectious disease experts said that time gap represented a critical missed opportunity that may have led others to be exposed to the virus.

At the apartment complex, Osmanovic said he met the man three times over the years when he was visiting his family. Most of the neighborhood is from Liberia, Somalia or Sudan. Osmanovic is from Bosnia.

The only sign on Wednesday of the family's presence was someone occasionally pulling back the white blinds to peek out into the parking lot. A security officer blocked the entrance to the complex, with instructions only to let residents in and out.

Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas County Health and Human Services Medical Director, said that of the 18 people who had been in contact, many were "close family members".

The children among them "did not have any symptoms and so the odds of them passing on any sort of virus is very low", said Mike Miles, Dallas Independent School District superintendent.

Miles said the four different schools they attended would be staffed with additional health professionals and classes would remain in session.

Texas officials said health workers who took care of the patient had so far tested negative for the virus and there were no other suspected cases in the state. Texas Governor Rick Perry told a news conference he was confident the virus would be contained, as did other officials.

While past outbreaks of Ebola killed as many as 90 percent of victims, the current epidemic's fatality rate has averaged about 50 percent in West Africa.

The patient arrived in Texas on Sept. 20, and first sought treatment six days later, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The Liberian government said that the man showed no signs of fever or other symptoms of Ebola when he left the country on Sept. 19.

A Liberian official said the man traveled through Brussels to the United States. United Airlines said in a statement that the man took one of its flights from Brussels to Washington Dulles Airport, where he changed planes to travel to Dallas-Fort Worth.

A spokesman for Brussels Airlines, the only airline to fly direct scheduled services between Brussels and Monrovia, said he could not confirm that the passenger had flown with the company.

"We also have not been contacted by anyone to tell us to take measures or contact passengers because of an infected passenger traveling with us," spokesman Geert Sciot said.

Separately on Wednesday, citing a "heightened sense of awareness of Ebola", the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, said it was treating a patient in isolation.

"At this time the patient's history and clinical presentation do not appear to be consistent with Ebola and the patient may be diagnosed with a number of conditions other than Ebola," the statement said.

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