Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said she is “very angry” with a fellow Liberian, Thomas Duncan, who travelled to Texas after being infected with the Ebola virus.
Johnson Sirleaf said in an interview with the Canadian public broadcaster CBC broadcast Thursday that she would consult with lawyers about what to do when the man returns home.
“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 said.
She said she regretted that after the U.S. had 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.”
Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown, however, 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.
Tom Frieden, Director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. public health institute confirmed that Duncan did not have a fever when he left Liberia and only developed symptoms on September 24.
Duncan had filled out an airport questionnaire aiming to establish if he had contact with persons infected with Ebola in the past 21 days before flying on September 19 to the U.S.
It was reported that he had earlier helped to transport his Ebola-infected, pregnant sister-in-law to a hospital in Monrovia.
Binyah Kesselly, board chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority said “knowingly making false declaration is not a joke.
“The authority would seek to prosecute Duncan if he lied,” Kesselly said.
Duncan, however, is critically ill and in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, U.S. health authorities have said.
He was reportedly turned away once from the hospital even though he said he had 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 might have come into close contact with Duncan between the time he arrived in Texas on September 20 and was checked into hospital Sunday.
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.
Meanwhile, an American freelance cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola and is being transported back to the U.S. for treatment.
NBC said the freelancer was hired Tuesday to work with the broadcaster’s chief medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman, who is reporting from Monrovia.
NBC News president, Deborah Turness, said in a message to staff that NBC was taking “all possible measures” to protect employees and the general public.
Snyderman and the rest of the NBC crew would also be flown home and put in quarantine for 21 days, Turness said.
The patient will be at least the fourth American to have been infected with Ebola to have been taken back to the U.S. for treatment.
The three other known patients have all recovered.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are bearing the brunt of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak, which began in December.
The World Health Organisation has so far reported 7,178 probable, confirmed and suspected Ebola cases in West Africa and 3,338 deaths.