Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person to be diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in the United States, and four of his relatives have been quarantined in their homes as a precaution, health officials said Thursday.
Dallas County officials said 12 to 18 people had direct contact with the Texas patient, and they in turn had contact with scores of others.
Officials said none of those thought to have had direct or indirect contact with the patient, who was being treated at a Dallas hospital, were showing symptoms of Ebola. The disease has killed at least 3,338 people in West Africa in the worst such outbreak on record.
A top health official urged U.S. hospitals to heed lessons from Dallas, where the hospital initially sent the ailing patient home, despite information that he had recently visited West Africa, potentially exposing more people to the virus.
U.S. officials initially described the number of people potentially exposed as a handful, and on Wednesday said it was up to 18.
But on Thursday, the Texas health department said there were about 100 potential contacts. However, Dallas County officials said more than 80 had direct or indirect contact with the patient.
“We are working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts,” Texas health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.