(CNN) — Thomas Eric Duncan, the man with Ebola who traveled to the United States from Liberia, died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden offered his condolences Wednesday to family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan. “He is a face that we associate now with Ebola,” Frieden said of Duncan, before mentioning all those who have died from the virus in West Africa.
Following his death, five of America’s biggest, busiest airports will soon implement new steps to guard against Ebola, requiring travelers arriving from the hardest-hit West African nations to go through an additional layer of screening aimed at detecting anyone who might have the deadly virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the enhanced Ebola-protection policy Wednesday, affecting those travelers coming into the United States from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — countries where the vast majority of current Ebola cases are.
According to the CDC, more than 94% of the travelers from those countries enter the United States through five airports: New York’s John F. Kennedy, Washington-Dulles outside the nation’s capital, Newark in northern New Jersey, O’Hare in Chicago and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.
That’s why the additional screening will be focused there, starting Saturday at Kennedy airport, which the CDC says has been the landing spot for nearly half of all travelers from the three West African nations between July 2013 and July 2014. The program will be expanded to include the four other airports next week.
A non-contact thermometer, placed over their forehead, will be used to take the travelers’ temperature. A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola.
If there are any red flags, such as the person has a high temperature or there’s something on health questionnaire that suggests they might have been exposed to the virus, the traveler will then be evaluated by a CDC public health officer on site.
If there are not, the person is free to leave — though not empty-handed. According to the CDC, they will be given information about how to monitor themselves for possible symptoms, will be asked to log their temperature daily and be asked to provide their contact information to authorities.
The hospital released the following statement on Duncan’s death:
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”
Duncan had been in critical condition after being diagnosed with the virus in mid-September. People who have had contact with him have been isolated and are being monitored for symptoms.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also released the following statement:
“My thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan at this time, especially his fiancée, Louise, their son Karsiah and all those who loved him. We are also thinking of the dedicated hospital staff who assisted Mr. Duncan daily while he fought this terrible disease. We offer prayers of comfort and peace to everyone impacted by his passing.”
The Ebola virus can spread through contact with bodily fluids — blood, sweat, feces, vomit, semen and saliva — and only by someone who is showing symptoms, according to the CDC.People with Ebola may not be symptomatic for up to 21 days.
Symptoms generally occur abruptly eight to 10 days after infection, though that period can range from two to 21 days, health officials say.
Air travelers must keep in mind that Ebola is not transmitted through the air, said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.
“There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood,” he stressed.
Cases in Europe
Meanwhile, Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for the European Commission, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been eight confirmed cases of Ebola in European countries. There is one case in the United Kingdom that has been treated and the person has recovered; one case in France like that; two cases in Germany in which patients are receiving treatment; and three cases in Spain: two deceased Spanish missionaries and a nurse’s assistant who is being treated.
There is also a case in which a Norwegian staffer with Doctors Without Borders is being treated, he said.
Also in Spain, health officials said four more potential Ebola cases — in addition to the nurse’s assistant — are under observation.
Cases in West Africa
The globe’s largest outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since March, more than 7,400 people have contracted Ebola in those nations, according to the World Health Organization.
The CDC is tracking the latest cases in the region.