Dallas Ebola victim's stepdaughter cleared to return to nurse assistant job
The stepdaughter of Thomas Duncan, the Texas Ebola victim in critical condition, has been cleared to return to her job as a nursing assistant. On Sept. 28, she called 911 and rode with her stepfather in an ambulance to a Dallas hospital.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Youngor Jallah, 35, that she could return to her job, as she has yet to exhibit symptoms of the Ebola virus.
“The CDC came yesterday. They said I can go back to work but I do not know what I will do. I will not go back yet,” Jallah told The Daily Mail, adding that she will likely wait until her family’s quarantine hits 21 days, the longest amount of time an Ebola carrier will exemplify symptoms of the virus after exposure.
Since Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, Jallah and husband Aaron Yah, 43, who is also a nursing assistant, have quarantined their family, including four children ages 2 to 11. Jallah had the most contact with her stepfather, taking his temperature and aiding him amid violent bouts of vomiting before a Dallas ambulance could arrive at her mother’s home at Ivy Apartments on Sept. 28.
Yah also had contact with Duncan the day he fell ill, but he, too, was told he could work again. The couple’s children slept in the same apartment as Duncan, but have not shown Ebola symptoms, the Daily Mail reported. The eldest child has been held from school during the quarantine.
The children were not present when Jallah and Yah visited Duncan at the request of Louis Troh, 54, who is in secret quarantine with her 13-year-old son, a nephew, and a friend, according to the Daily Mail.
Duncan originally sought care at a Dallas hospital two days before he returned with more serious symptoms. The first visit resulted in a prescription for medication to treat his diarrhea. He was sent home despite his condition and warnings that he just came from Liberia.
Ebola has killed at least 3,000 people in West Africa since March.
Jallah said her mother Troh called her when Duncan’s conditioned worsened.
“He was lying on the bed. I asked him how he was and he said, ‘I'm not okay,’” she told the Daily Mail.
Duncan could not eat anything, and only drank half a cup of hot tea, she said. His temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit and his blood pressure was low.
“I went to Walmart to get him a blanket and put it round him but he was so sick,” she said.
Jallah eventually suggested it was time to call 911. She rode with Duncan in the ambulance. Despite her lengthy contact with him, and her warning to emergency workers that Duncan recently arrived from West Africa, she was not told what precautions she and her family should take. Without instructions from the CDC, Jallah and family put themselves under quarantine.
Duncan, now in critical condition, has been given an experimental drug, called brincidofovir, that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved for Ebola victims in dire situations.
Meanwhile, nearly 80 travelers destined for the US have been prevented from boarding their flights after being flagged during Ebola screenings. US President Barack Obama announced Monday that "we're going to be working on protocols to do additional, faster screening both at the source and here in the United States."
NBC News reported that Ebola screenings run by the CDC will likely occur at major international airline hubs in the US, including in Newark Liberty International Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC.
According to The Washington Post, additional screenings could mean focus on measuring temperature of travelers and reviews of traveling itineraries of foreigners seeking to enter the US. Currently, anyone traveling from Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone must submit to airport screenings.
The World Health Organization, according to NBC News, and the White House have not endorsed an all-out travel ban to the US from affected nations.
"A travel ban is something that we’re not currently considering,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.