Liberia May Prosecute Ebola Patient

Liberia may prosecute Ebola patient who traveled to the U.S. before falling ill.

Example:   [Collected via Twitter, October 2014]

#Liberia to prosecute Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who brought #Ebola to U.S.


Origins:   On 30 September 2014, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that a patient in Dallas tested positive for the Ebola virus. The patient has since been identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, and authorities in Liberia indicated on 2 October 2014 that they may prosecute him for allegedly lying on exit documents in order to fly to the United States.

Duncan flew to the U.S. on 20 September after completing an airport screening questionnaire in West Africa. The Associated Press obtained a document showing that Duncan answered “no” to a series of questions regarding whether he had been exposed to the Ebola virus.

Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, said Duncan could be criminally liable for leaving the country after becoming infected:

To all of these questions, Mr. Duncan answered ‘no’ … I raised the question with the justice minister if we can prosecute people for knowingly making false declaration on forms where you willingly, knowingly and mortally put people’s lives at risk … She is of the opinion that we can.”


Officials tracing the path of Ebola in Duncan’s area said the patient helped transport a pregnant woman infected with the virus by wheelbarrow to a taxi. The woman, who later died, was believed at the time to be suffering symptoms related to her pregnancy.

Whether Duncan ever learned of the woman’s illness and death before himself falling ill is not clear, and Liberian authorities did not disclose the date on which she died.

Last updated:   2 October 2014