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Texas orders family of Ebola victim into forced lockdown, demands blood samples for the state


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(NaturalNews) As many had warned, epidemics like Ebola would cause frightened populations to press their governments to take authoritarian measures. That has happened already in West Africa, where the disease originated; borders have been shuttered, entire communities quarantined, and Liberia's armed forces were told in August to shoot illegal border crossers on sight.

Now that the disease has reached the U.S., authoritarian measures are already beginning to be implemented; a panicking public and overreaction on the part of state officials has led Texas authorities to order "four close family members of the Ebola patient in Dallas to stay in their home, and they've posted law enforcement outside to be sure," CBS DFW reported with The Associated Press.

"They were non-compliant with requests to stay home," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said this week when discussing why officers were stationed outside the home.

David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner, told reporters that the unusual step of ordering the four family members to be quarantined was an effort to permit health officials to do necessary monitoring of them, which will include checking them for fever twice per day over the next 21 days. At the time when the quarantine was ordered, none of the family members were exhibiting any signs of Ebola.

'We didn't meet any resistance'

"We didn't have the confidence we would have been able to monitor them the way that we needed to," said Lakey, adding that he signed the order after the family members led him to think that it was best for the public to ensure that they were not able to leave their home. Reports said he did not provide any details regarding the information that led him to make that conclusion.

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said that the family members understood the quarantine measure and have indicated that they are willing to comply with the order.

"We didn't meet any resistance with them understanding," he said. "We thoroughly read each line of the order and asked them if they would be willing to comply. They emphatically said they would comply with the order. I never saw any resistance from them."

Jenkins told reporters that several days' worth of food have been sent to the family's apartment; also, a contractor has been hired to thoroughly clean it.

"Those people in the apartment are part of Dallas County, and they are going to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity in this unusual situation," he said.

The judge said that the belongings, clothes and household trash, and perhaps even the sheets of the Ebola patient -- Thomas Eric Duncan -- have been collected and bagged up inside the home, so family members cannot come into contact with them. Eventually, officials said, those items will be properly disposed of.

Meanwhile, federal and state health officials in Texas are "reaching out to about 100 people to determine if they have had contact with [Duncan], who continues to be hospitalized in Dallas," CBS DFW reported, adding:

But Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said Thursday they've only identified a handful of individuals so far who may really have been exposed and therefore will be monitored.

Duncan remains in serious condition at Texas Presbyterian Hospital. A guard is posted outside his door and he's not being allowed any visitors. However, he does have a phone and is able to communicate with his family.

No further plans to quarantine - yet

Health officials have discussed using experimental treatments for Duncan, Frieden said. The patient, along with his treating physician, will make any final decisions on experimental procedures, however.

Frieden went on to confirm that, indeed, Duncan was screened in Liberia before boarding his flight out of the country, and he exhibited no signs of fever at that time. He said that Duncan's temperature was taken with a CDC-approved thermometer by someone trained by the agency. Also, Duncan did not exhibit a fever when he was traveling and did not develop any symptoms until five days after arriving in the U.S.

Though Duncan's family members are being quarantined, health officials say they don't plan to issue any further quarantine orders, but of course, what officials have not said is that that decision is subject to change.





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