MONROVIA, Liberia – The Liberian man infected with Ebola who brought the disease to the United States will be prosecuted when he returns home for lying on his airport screening questionnaire, Liberian authorities said Thursday.
With an Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, passengers leaving Liberia are being screened for fever and are asked if they have had contact with anyone infected.
On the form obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by a government official, Thomas Eric Duncan answered “no” to questions about whether he had cared for an Ebola patient or touched the body of someone who had died in an area affected by Ebola.
Duncan left for the U.S. on Sept. 19 to visit family and became sick a few days after he arrived. He is currently in isolation at a hospital in Dallas, Texas, and is listed as being in serious but stable condition.
Days before he left Liberia, Duncan had helped carry to a taxi a pregnant woman who later died of Ebola, according to neighbours. Her illness at the time was believed to be pregnancy-related.
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At the time Duncan left for the U.S., it’s not clear if he knew of the woman’s diagnosis. Officials have said Duncan was showing no symptoms when he boarded the plane and he was therefore not contagious. Ebola can only be spread through the bodily fluids of people showing signs of the disease.
“He will be prosecuted” when he returns to Liberia, Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, told reporters.
He said that people like Duncan and Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American with Ebola who travelled to Nigeria and infected people there, have brought a “stigma” upon Liberians living abroad.