The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was fighting for his life on a respirator at a Dallas hospital Sunday and appeared not to be receiving any of the experimental medicines for the virus, a top U.S. medical official said.
Thomas Eric Duncan became ill after arriving in the Texas city from Liberia two weeks ago, heightening concerns that the worst Ebola epidemic on record could spread from West Africa, where it began in March. The hemorrhagic fever has killed at least 3,400 people out of at least 7,490 probable, suspected and confirmed cases.
“The man in Dallas, who is fighting for his life, is the only patient to develop Ebola in the United States,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Duncan “could die quickly,” a senior federal health official familiar with his condition told the Los Angeles Times. The source would not not rule out the possibility that the Liberian could rally and survive.
In a media briefing with reporters on Sunday, Frieden said he was scheduled to brief President Barack Obama on Monday.
Frieden said doses of the experimental medicine ZMapp were “all gone” and that the drug, produced by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, is “not going to be available anytime soon.”