Liberia president ‘angry’ over Ebola countryman in Texas

2014-10-03 06:33
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (AFP, File)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (AFP, File)

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Washington - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she is "very angry" with a fellow Liberian who travelled to Texas after being infected with Ebola.

In an interview with Canadian public broadcaster CBC broadcast on Thursday by CNN, Johnson Sirleaf said that she would consult with lawyers as to what to do when he comes home.

Binyah Kesselly, board chairperson of the Liberia Airport Authority, told CNN that the authority would "seek to prosecute" Thomas Duncan if he lied on his health questionnaire about having come in contact with Ebola before leaving Liberia.

Duncan is critically ill and in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, US health authorities said. He was turned away once from the hospital, even though he presented with a fever and told the hospital staff he had recently arrived from Liberia.

Texas health authorities have broadened their circle of investigation to about 100 people who may have come into close contact with Duncan between the time he arrived in Texas about 20 September and was checked into hospital on 28 September.

The incubation period is a maximum 21 days.

"I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him, to tell you the truth," Johnson Sirleaf told CBC. "The fact that he knew [he was exposed to the virus] and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly."

She regretted that after the US has done so much to help Liberia deal with the epidemic, "he's gone there and ... put some Americans in a state of fear, and put them at some risk."

The patient, who worked as a driver for a cargo company, helped to transport his pregnant sister-in-law to a hospital in the capital after she tested positive for Ebola, neighbours and government officials said.

Information Minister Lewis Brown assured the international community that measures to screen for Ebola symptoms at Liberia's international airports and exit points were "stringent".

"We understand his tests, like all others who are being permitted to travel ... showed he manifested no signs of fever or any other symptoms of the virus," said Brown, noting that the incident demonstrated "a clear international dimension of the Ebola crisis".

The man did not have a fever when he left Liberia and only developed symptoms on 24 September, CDC director Tom Frieden said.

Four people at the flat where the Liberian was visiting have been quarantined and are being monitored for symptoms, said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Health Department.

Read more on:    ellen johnson sirleaf  |  us  |  liberia  |  ebola  |  west africa

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