Liberia May Prosecute US Ebola Patient

The first man found to have Ebola on US soil might be prosecuted in his home country of Liberia for “lying on a health form,” the Associated Press, and later Reuters, reported.

According to the BBC, before coming to the US, the patient indicated on an official travel document that he did not have any sick relatives, but “Liberia’s assistant health minister said he had taken a sick relative to a clinic in a wheelbarrow.”

That account seems to slightly conflict with reporting from The New York Times, which said he took a neighbour to the hospital in a taxi — though there may be more than one sick person involved.

David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, emphasised that while officials were investigating exactly what the patient’s exposure to Ebola in Liberia was, he did not have any symptoms until a few days after his arrival in the US.

“The exit form does ask about exposure to people who may have had Ebola,” Lakey told reporters on Thursday. “The reality is that … individuals often don’t know what their exposures may have been, and not all individuals fully disclose what their exposures may have been.”

But recent accounts suggest that if the patient survives, he may face prosecution back home.

“We wish him a speedy recovery; we await his arrival in Liberia,” Binyah Kesselly, the chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, said, according to the BBC account.

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