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Dozens cleared from Ebola quarantine in Texas

Dozens of people who had initial contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in Dallas, were deemed safe to leave quarantine after weeks of monitoring. More than 100 others, including those who cared for him, are still being watched. Meanwhile, Nigeria was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization. Gwen Ifill reports.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    The headlines on Ebola in the U.S. were more hopeful today. They included news that the pool of potential Ebola cases is shrinking.

  • JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, Dallas County:

    It's somewhat of a happy press conference for us

  • GWEN IFILL:

    After weeks of uncertainty, a bit of relief. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced that 43 people no longer need to be monitored. All had initial contact with Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital. They included several of Duncan's relatives and his fiancee, all allowed to leave quarantine today.

  • JUDGE CLAY JENKINS:

    There's zero risk that any of those people who have been marked off the list have Ebola. They were in contact with a person who had Ebola. And the time period for them to get Ebola has lapsed. It is over. So they are — they do not have Ebola.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Five more people will complete their 21-day monitoring period in coming days; 120 others are still under watch in Texas, including those who cared for Thomas Duncan.

    But a Dallas hospital worker who handled some of his specimens, and then went on a cruise, also tested negative. The ship returned to Texas yesterday. Two infected nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, are still being treated at special facilities in Bethesda, Maryland, and Atlanta.

    In Washington today, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said both had exposed skin, even though they followed existing guidelines.

    DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: So the protocol that was quite successful — it worked very well in Ebola in Africa — the way that was written was a risk for the nurses. And they — they went by the protocol. They got infected. Right now, those protocols are being changed.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Those new guidelines will be issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Meanwhile, in West Africa, ground zero of the epidemic, Nigeria was declared Ebola-free today by the World Health Organization.

  • RUI GAMA VAZ, Country Representative, World Health Organization:

    This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained. But we must be clear that we have only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Nigeria had 20 Ebola cases in total and eight deaths. There've been more than 9,000 cases and 4,500 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

    An American doc who caught Ebola in Sierra Leone and was treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was declared free of the virus today and released.

    We will turn our focus to the Ebola fight in Liberia right after the news summary.

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