Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Quarantined Woman Speaks Out on Ebola Patient; Liberian Official: U.S. Patient Lied About Ebola Exposure; NBC: American Cameraman In Africa Has Ebola
Aired October 2, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a 360 exclusive in the fast- moving and now even more deeply troubling story of Ebola in America. Our conversation with the woman who Thomas Duncan, patient zero, was staying with when he first fell ill. She and Mr. Duncan have a child together.
Now when we spoke earlier today we agreed to only use her first name Louise. Some of what she'd told us was frankly confounding. A few of the news were the details of our conversation were released and public health officials were put on their heels.
You're going to hear all those details in a moment. Particularly the fact that the sheets that Thomas Duncan used, slept in, sweated on, was sick in, in the bed that they shared together, those sheets are still on the bed even though this woman, Louise, is in quarantine. The towels that he used, soiled towels, she still has in the apartment. She was told to put them in a plastic bag, which she did.
But they're still there. We just checked with her. They have not been collected. She's still waiting for them to pick -- be picked up. She has no idea what to do with the sheets that the first Ebola patient in the United States slept in and used.
We're going to have, first, though, a bit more background on Louise. She's the one who accompanied Mr. Duncan to the hospital last Thursday night and took him home when doctors mistakenly discharged him. For the next three nights she slept beside him, watch his condition deteriorate, saw him break out in fever and sweats and run repeatedly to the bathroom.
Tonight, Louise and three others are under county-mandated quarantine, not in hospital isolation ward either. She's in quarantine in her northeast Dallas apartment. Meantime, health officials say they are tracing the other people possibly up to 100 in all, 100 in all, whom Mr. Duncan may have come in contact with.
All of this raising a lot of serious questions, questions that will not be answered tonight by any of the officials involved. And we invited them all on the program, they declined.
Here is part one of my exclusive interview with Louise.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So, Louise, tell me what happened. When did you first realize that Thomas was sick?
LOUISE, EBOLA PATIENT'S QUARANTINED FRIEND: It was Tuesday. Tuesday -- he had headaches and all night fever. So that's how I realized that he was sick.
COOPER: And how long had he been here? About five days, is that right?
LOUISE: Since Saturday -- Saturday night. He came Saturday night. And Sunday, Monday, Tuesday to Thursday before (INAUDIBLE), that he was not feeling well.
COOPER: So when he came Saturday, did you talk at all about Ebola? I mean, he was coming from Liberia. Had he had any contact with anybody with Ebola?
LOUISE: No, no. He didn't tell me that he had contact with anybody with Ebola. He did not.
COOPER: Because there was a report maybe he had had contact with somebody -- or he had helped a woman who had Ebola. Do you know anything about that?
LOUISE: No, not that I was concerned about. I have no idea.
COOPER: How high was his fever when you took him to the hospital?
LOUISE: We checked his fever, it was I think it was 100.1.
COOPER: So the first time you went there they asked about -- you told them twice that he had come from Liberia. When did they -- how quickly did they discharge him the first time?
LOUISE: We were not there for maybe around four hours. We were there but for three and a half hours to four hours there.
COOPER: And what prescriptions did they give him?
LOUISE: They just gave him antibiotics prescription.
COOPER: So just to be clear, that first time you went and twice you told them he is from Liberia nobody said anything to you then about well, has he had any contact with somebody who may have had Ebola? They didn't ask him about Ebola? It didn't seem to register, the fact that he had come from Liberia?
LOUISE: No, they did not ask.
COOPER: So he was having a lot of diarrhea when he got back from the hospital?
LOUISE: Yes, that's how the diarrhea started. When we went to the hospital, no diarrhea. He was not even using the bathroom until when he started taking the antibiotic. That's how he started having diarrhea.
COOPER: OK. And he still had a fever?
LOUISE: Yes, a fever, and he run a fever.
COOPER: And so that was Friday, you came home. How was he over the weekend?
LOUISE: It was Friday, when he came home. And Saturday he started with the diarrhea.
COOPER: What day did you end up going to the hospital again?
LOUISE: It was Sunday, Sunday morning when I went to work. My daughter came back to bring his tea. That's how she came to him. He was sick, then she called the ambulance.
COOPER: So it was your daughter who called the ambulance. What made her call the ambulance?
LOUISE: She said he was shaking, really shaking. Hot fever and he was shaking.
COOPER: Right, so did you go to the hospital?
LOUISE: I went to the hospital right away.
COOPER: And were you able to see him there?
LOUISE: Through the glass.
COOPER: Through the glass. And they told you at that point what? What did they say to you then?
LOUISE: They say they were going to run through his, and do his blood test, get some blood from him. And his lab tests, they're going to send it for -- to check him for Ebola.
COOPER: So that was the first time they mentioned to you Ebola?
COOPER: When you heard that, what did you think?
LOUISE: I was scary (sic). I was so scary.
COOPER: How did you find out he had Ebola?
LOUISE: They called me. The CDC, the health department called me and told me that he had Ebola.
COOPER: So what did they tell you then that you needed to do?
LOUISE: Stay home. I need to stay home and monitor my temp. They take my temperature. When they're going to be monitoring all of us. My son should stay home, my nephew, everyone of us should stay home for 21 days. And we should not come outside. If we have to come outside right on the porch but not get down the stairs.
COOPER: What did you think when you heard that?
LOUISE: Scary. I was -- I'm scary.
COOPER: And have you gone outside at all?
LOUISE: No, I'm inside, and they did not bring food here. They came late here last night with paperwork for us to sign that if we step outside then they're going to take us, they're going to take us to court. That we'll have committed a crime. But up to this time they have not brought us any food, any food.
COOPER: And again, you're going to hear this in the next part of the interview. The sheets that Mr. Duncan used, sweated on, those sheets are still on the bed in her apartment. The pillow cases are still there, the soiled towels are in a plastic bag, not in some sort of biohazardous containment bag, just the plastic bag said Louise that she put them in. And she's waiting for word for somebody to collect them. She doesn't know what to do with them.
One welcome note, late today, after that detail about the food, we're told that public health officials, some did arrive, we're told. However, and this really cannot be overstated, cleanup crews have still not paid a visit to take all those soiled items out of her apartment.
Part two of our conversation shortly, first though, I want to bring in our panel of experts. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and David Quammen, author of many books including the upcoming "Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus."
Sanjay, Thomas Duncan's symptoms, his visits to the hospital, you heard Louise described how clear she was that Duncan had just arrived from Liberia. She told the person who checked them in the hospital when the person asked for a Social Security number, that's why she explained he didn't have one because he was from Liberia. She said she told the health care worker as well.
By her account, the hospital didn't misunderstand, they just didn't seem to consider that this could be Ebola.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think you're absolutely right. And you know we've heard that same sort of thing from the hospital now as well. That judge with her version of events.
At first you remember, Anderson, we couldn't quite figure out what had happened here. And we heard that the hospital hadn't asked and Mr. Duncan hadn't disclosed that he was from Liberia. We know that that's not true because the next day the hospital came back and said well, in fact, we did ask. We were told that he's from Liberia, but somehow within the team, the health care team, the information got lost somehow. It wasn't acted upon.
That's a miss. That's low-hanging fruit, you should be able to address these sort of things if you're talking about being able to adequately take care of patients with infectious diseases. And not let them turn into outbreaks. So that was a miss. It's interesting when he came into the hospital with that sort of history, it should have -- it should have raised some flags, and for whatever reason, human error, I guess, it just didn't here, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, also, Sanjay, I mean, the other question is, it seems strange that Louise didn't mention the possibility of Ebola. I mean, she's from Liberia, she certainly knows about what's happening in Liberia. And Mr. Duncan, who has just come from Liberia, certainly knows what's going on in Liberia. You'd think he might mention that to the people at the hospital as well. But apparently that didn't happen either.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I didn't -- I never heard that in fact Ebola was mentioned by Mr. Duncan. That wasn't anywhere. Obviously, it's a consideration I think given what's happening in the world right now.
But to your point, Anderson, someone who comes in with a fever, about 100.1, it sounds like the first time he came in he wasn't having the other symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, things like that. That could be a lot of things, even if you just returned from Liberia. Even in West Africa you have lots of different diseases that can cause mild fever. And you've got to obviously think about those things as well.
But that -- still that wasn't the pattern of events here. They just kind of missed this important part of his travel history and didn't investigate it further. So while they may have been right in thinking about other things as a possibility here, the fact that they did not consider Ebola as a possibility was the crucial mistake.
COOPER: Dr. Redlener, you mentioned yesterday to me that -- I mean, there have been big cutbacks in public health and disaster preparedness. What do you make of what Louise has said so far? And also what does this mean for other potential outbreaks out there, outbreaks that are airborne? That are even potentially more dangerous.
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Yes, of course, we would have had a far greater problem than we're having right now with this particular case, even though there may be up to 100 people now have been potentially exposed. I don't think it's going to be quite that many. But the point is this is a window into what's happening in our health care system in general.
I mean, the only good news out of this particular story is that hopefully it's gotten enough attention now from you and others so that we're not going to have any other hospital in the country that hopefully sends someone away who's got this history of having been in West Africa. I mean, that itself is -- that's the trigger. You come in with any fever, and like Sanjay said, it could be a lot of things, but right now, it's Ebola until proven otherwise. COOPER: Should you -- should this, though, be a wake-up call to the
public health system. Just to -- even if it's going through drills or for hospitals to check their own procedures? Because again if it's not this now it's going to be something else down the road.
REDLENER: Exactly. So when we first started giving hospitals money to get ready for any kind of disaster, we were paying about $500 million a year to all the hospitals in the country to get themselves prepared. That number has actually dropped by 50 percent over the last seven or eight years. And hospitals simply don't have the money. They do not have the resources to do the ongoing training. And by the way, this is not just a one-shot deal, you have to train and re-train.
REDLENER: And train the new staff that comes in. And we're now suffering some consequences of that cutback and these funds to that level.
COOPER: And David, hearing Louise described how her son and nephew stayed in the apartment -- her son is 13 years old, her nephews were on their 20s if my memories serve me correct. Stayed in the apartment with Duncan. How her daughter went to make him tea. She's the one who actually called the ambulance. Louise later told me she doesn't think she was in the ambulance with him. She had her own car. She thinks maybe she took her car to the hospital.
Health officials are checking as we just were discussing, as many as 100 people that Duncan may have had contact with, Louise and her family are not showing any symptoms. But you start to get a sense of how fast a disease can spread, how much effort it takes to actually contain it, even this disease, which is now airborne.
DAVID QUAMMEN, AUTHOR, "EBOLA": That's right. That's right. And this thing about -- we know that it transfers by bodily fluids, direct contact. But I was just reviewing tonight, a CDC report from the outbreak of Ebola in Kikwit, Zaire back in 1995, and they were studying the risk factors and the people who had gotten infected during that.
And one of the risk factors, a couple of the risk factors that they mention is sharing a hospital bed or sharing hospital meals with a patient during the terminal phase of the illness. Turned out to be risk factors for other people becoming infected.
COOPER: That is definitely a concern. We're going to have to take a quick break. We're going to continue the conversation shortly with our experts and also with Louise.
As always make sure you set your DVRs, so you can watch 360 whenever you like.
Coming up next, what Louise told me about living all these days in her apartment just steps away from all those soiled with potentially hazardous items that tonight are still in that apartment. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Before the break you heard Thomas Duncan's partner, Louise, described how he fell ill with Ebola, how doctors saw him or told he'd just come from Liberia and still sent him home. His condition instead got worse, probably some at time until the ambulance took him away sweat and diarrhea, his body may have been shedding virus on to bathroom surfaces, towels, the sheets as you'll hear in part two of our conversation. She told the CDC about it, she says, that right now those towels and sheets are still in that apartment, just steps away in the apartment that she and three others can no longer leave.
COOPER: Who are you at home with?
LOUISE: With my son, my 13-year-old son, and nephew -- and my other nephew.
COOPER: And just so I'm clear. The three kids you have with you, how old are they?
LOUISE: 13 years old son, 22 years old nephew, and 28 years old nephew.
COOPER: So the three kids who were there when he was there are quarantined with you?
COOPER: And what about your daughter?
LOUISE: My daughter lives on her own. She is 35. She's on her own.
COOPER: Was she in the ambulance with Thomas?
LOUISE: No, she has her own car, I don't think she went with him on the way. She drove her car.
COOPER: But is she quarantined as well?
LOUISE: I guess so.
COOPER: Have you -- you haven't talked to her?
LOUISE: Yes, she is indoors, she said she's waiting for them over there. I think so because they took her kids to school. She's with the kids.
COOPER: So -- because she came in contact with Thomas when he was sick, correct? She was helping care for him, too, when she called the ambulance?
LOUISE: She brought him some tea. She brought him tea. She fixed him tea to drink. That's how she saw him and called the ambulance.
COOPER: There was a report that maybe Thomas got sick outside the apartment. Did you see that? Or did you hear about that?
LOUISE: No. Thomas, since he came he was always indoors. He was indoor.
COOPER: When you were caring for him, did you get in contact with any fluids?
LOUISE: Not I know of.
COOPER: Did the CDC recommend that you clean your apartment?
LOUISE: I told them that I just -- my daughter brought me some Clorox, and we put it -- put the Clorox on the mattresses, on my bed, and I tried (INAUDIBLE) and dirty clothes are in a plastic bag. All sealed up. And that's it. But they said we shouldn't throw anything away until they can get back with me.
COOPER: So the sheets that Thomas used and the towels that he used, what have you done with those?
LOUISE: They are in the plastic bag.
COOPER: In your apartment?
COOPER: So you put -- you took them off the bed. And put them into a plastic bag?
LOUISE: No, only the towel is in the plastic bag. But the rest of his stuff stayed the same on the bed. The bed sheets, everything is on the bed.
COOPER: So the sheets that he used, that he slept on, that's still on the bed?
COOPER: Did the CDC talk to you about that at all?
LOUISE: They told me they're going to get back with me. I told them that we are not going to use this stuff anymore. Neither the bed. We're not going to use any of those things. And if they're going to come back and tell me how to get rid of them.
COOPER: So is anybody sleeping in that bed right now?
LOUISE: No, we're sleeping in the living room.
COOPER: You're sleeping in the living room. So you were -- those are the sheets that you were using, too. That was the bed that you were using. When did you stop using that bed?
LOUISE: On Tuesday.
COOPER: How are you coping with this? LOUISE: I'm just hanging in there, depending on God to save our
COOPER: Depending on God to save your lives.
LOUISE: Yes. And the time come let us be free because people are telling lies.
COOPER: So you feel like people are not informed about how you actually get Ebola, you actually have to come in contact with the bodily fluids of somebody who is not only infected but actually sick with Ebola.
LOUISE: Yes, we are not sick with Ebola.
COOPER: Right. And at this point, even if you had Ebola, you are not showing any signs so you would not be able to infect anybody else and you want to get that message across?
LOUISE: Yes, for them to leave me alone, leave my kids alone.
COOPER: And you're -- how often are you checking yourself for fever?
LOUISE: Every hour.
COOPER: Every hour. Wow. And does the CDC come to check you or is that something you just do yourself because you're a caregiver?
LOUISE: Yes, they came yesterday and they said they will come every day. They will come every day until the 21 days is over.
COOPER: Have you been able to talk to -- to Thomas at all?
LOUISE: Yes, I speak with him every day. I called him this morning.
COOPER: How is he doing?
LOUISE: He is trying -- he slept well last night.
COOPER: Well, I can't imagine how scary this is for you and for your whole family.
LOUISE: We can't wait to get over with everything. We can't wait.
COOPER: Well, Louise, thank you so much for talking to us. And please, you know, tell Thomas that we are thinking of him and praying for him. And for your whole family and we will continue to do so. Thank you.
LOUISE: OK. Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, back with our panel, Sanjay Gupta, Irwin Redlener, and David Quammen. Sanjay, what do you make of that? I mean, hearing Louise describe the
waste in her apartment. How can health officials have left it that way?
GUPTA: You know, I hate to keep talking about missteps here. You know, with this whole situation. But it is another one here. You know, you have the situation where this guy clearly was very sick. It's essentially almost active like a hospital room, this bedroom where he was staying. And you know, we know Ebola as a virus can live outside the body. So the fact these that sheets, towels can be contaminated. They were not cleaned. She had no instruction on what to do with it.
In a hospital where patients are treated, Emory, just down the street from here, biocontainment bags would have been brought in. They would have been double sealed, that is specific protocol, and then incinerated. That's how they deal with that. That obviously didn't happen here.
Just the lack of -- you know, just the lack of humanity, I think, with it overall, she's really dealing with the sickness of Mr. Duncan, it's hard to imagine.
COOPER: Yes, Doctor Redlener, I'm not in any way blaming Louise here. I mean, she's, you know, coping as best she can. Does it surprise you that she hasn't gotten more help? I mean, a Hazmat team going in or people helping her clean or somebody telling her what to do with the dirty -- dirty sheets and dirty clothes. You point out it's not just stuff. It's anything he used.
REDLENER: Of course, it's paper goods, it's silverware, it's everything else that he came in contact with or his bodily fluids may come in contact with. This whole thing is actually hair-raising. I don't understand. On one hand, she's saying somebody came from the CDC. I'm assuming that means the local health department. Came to visit every day.
Didn't they ask about the sheets, the towels, what is happening, how to handle those and so forth? And the fact that they were still on the bed as of this afternoon is just absolutely remarkable. And you know the Department of Transportation federally says it's illegal for just a typical waste hauler to take this stuff. It's got to be people with appropriate training and very specific protocols that they have to follow.
So this whole thing is increasingly bizarre as you think about how it is unfolding. But if in fact there was a health care worker there every day, what exactly were they doing other than just taking a temperature and leaving? There should have been a whole lot more that she could have -- that should be expecting from local health department.
COOPER: David, I mean, Louis talked about how her neighbors and others have reacted badly when they heard about the Ebola case. She knows that they can't catch Ebola from her unless she's showing symptoms. But her neighbors certainly don't seem to have gotten that message. And that's something, you know, that Louise is concerned about. She's concerned about, you know, she has a son who's in college.
She's concerned about people pointing the finger at him even though she says he had no contact with his father, Mr. Duncan.
QUAMMEN: You're right, it's repeating the patterns that we've seen in African villages. People who are -- have loved ones who are infected, people who survived get ostracized in certain cases. There is so much fear, there's so much lack of understanding, that they face social rejection.
But, Anderson, there is one thing I think that hasn't been said that should be said about the treatment of Thomas Duncan in this hospital. It's not just an urgent necessity to treat him, it's an opportunity, just as it was with Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.
We don't really know yet as far as I have heard up to recently, we don't really know exactly how Ebola kills people. About exactly how it destroys the human body. And we need to learn more about that.
Carl Johnson, one of the great infectious disease pioneers, the fellow who led the first outbreak response against Ebola in 1976.
Carl Johnson told me six years ago that we don't understand how this disease works. People are afraid to study it and we won't understand how it affects the human body until we have it in captivity.
QUAMMEN: Until we have a patient in a good research hospital under control --
COOPER: And this is the opportunity to do that.
QUAMMEN: This is that opportunity.
COOPER: Yes. Yes. I just want to interrupt right now. We got some breaking news. NBC News is reporting that one of their freelancers in Africa has been diagnosed with Ebola. An American who was hired as a second cameraman for NBC's chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. He's being flown back to the United States for treatment.
And we're just getting this word in. Again, NBC News reporting that one of their freelance cameramen has been tested positive for Ebola, is being flown back to the United States.
Sanjay, Doctor Redlener, David Quammen, we're going to continue this shortly, talk to you more about some of the eye-opening developments including how Liberian officials say that Thomas Duncan managed to board a flight out of Liberia, even though witnesses say he'd been helping Ebola patients including someone who died of it. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back to breaking news that we just learned, another American has been diagnosed with Ebola. According to NBC News, he is a freelance cameraman hired to work with NBC chief medical correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman in Monrovia, Liberia.
He apparently first showed symptoms yesterday. He is being flown back to the United States for further treatment. Tonight's other breaking news CNN exclusive, for the first time we're hearing from the friend, Thomas Duncan, has been staying with in Dallas.
The mother of his son who is now under quarantine. In addition to her revelations about how he felt ill and what happened since. There is also a new question tonight, did Mr. Duncan lied to airport screeners about being exposed to Ebola.
Airport officials say that Duncan answered no to questions designed to flag exposure to the virus. But witnesses in Liberia say that Duncan had been helping Ebola patients including a pregnant woman who later died.
Here's what Liberia's president said about Mr. Duncan today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, LIBERIA: He has gone there, instead of waiting, put some Americans in a state of fear and put them at some risks. So I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him, to tell you the truth. The fact that he knew and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The president said she would consult with lawyers to decide what to do with him when he returned home. Today, we learned the U.S. military is sending 700 more troops and 700 military engineers to Liberia to help contain the Ebola epidemic. Two hundred troops have already been deployed.
Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins me now. So Elizabeth, you went through these checks when you left Liberia. What exactly did they ask you? What did they test you for?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, I left Liberia, Anderson, about a week after Mr. Duncan did. They don't test you for anything because there is no Ebola test, but they take your temperature three times before you are allowed to leave.
They ask you the series of questions. You're handed a clip board with questions on it. They want to know if you are feeling nauseous, are you vomiting, all of those kinds of symptom questions.
But then there is a series of what they call exposure questions. And one of those questions is, have you had contact with someone who has Ebola or in contact with their bodily fluids.
And that is what we're hearing that Mr. Duncan said no to that question, even though there appears to be quite a bit of evidence that he actually did have contact with an Ebola patient.
COOPER: I mean, what is interesting about this, Elizabeth, is, you know, we hear they're tightly screening and taking the temperature three times. But the reality is, it is really self-purporting. They're essentially relying on the passengers to tell the truth.
And if somebody has come in contact with Ebola and wants to get out of Liberia or wants to get on a plane just because they have business to attend to, there is a high likelihood that somebody is not going to tell the truth.
COHEN: Absolutely, it is completely the honor system. I mean, as long as you're not symptomatic, you can do what you just said. Now once you're symptomatic, I think they will catch you because the nurses are looking at you. They are taking your temperature.
But if you're in the incubation period, absolutely, and Anderson, you know, I was on your show in early August and we were talking about this. And I said the nightmare scenario is that someone is infected with Ebola, but is asymptomatic, doesn't have any signs yet.
They hop on a plane and a couple of days later they get sick in the U.S. and I hate to say -- I don't mean to sound like I have a crystal ball, but that's what happened.
And then the other layer of it is that hospitals were really not prepared for it. You have a Liberian man walking into a hospital with a fever and nobody catches it.
COOPER: And let's be honest, I mean, the realty is this is likely to happen again, somebody not showing any symptoms is very likely to get on an aircraft and come here again. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.
The question is, will this hospital learn from it? Will all hospitals learn from it? Will the next time somebody presents, it be handled differently. Let's hope so.
More breaking news tonight, late word, the United Airlines is voluntarily reaching out to passengers who were on two of the flights that Thomas Duncan took.
The United Airlines Flight 951 from Brussels to Washington, Dulles, and United Airlines Flight 822 from Washington, Dulles to Dallas, Ft. Worth. According to authorities at Liberia's airport, Duncan had no symptoms of Ebola when he left Liberia.
That is important because as you heard now Ebola is only infectious when a person has symptoms. So I don't want to cause hysteria for anybody who is on that aircraft. Apparently he was not showing symptoms when he was on that aircraft.
So if that is true, and Louise said he was not showing symptoms until several days after he arrived then there is no way he could have transmit it to anybody on that aircraft. But what if someone is fine when they get on a plane and then start showing symptoms of Ebola while on the aircraft. How much danger would they be in? With that, here's CNN's Dan Simon.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Suzanne Donovan is an expert on Ebola. She recently completed a month-long stint in Sierra Leone, treating Ebola victims.
(on camera): What made you volunteer?
DR. SUZANNE DONOVAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: Well, this is what I do. You know, I'm an infectious disease physician.
SIMON (voice-over): She has come with us aboard a 767 jetliner, now out of service to discuss the risk Ebola could have to the American flying public.
(on camera): So let's say somebody has Ebola and is showing symptoms and you're sting next to them, any chance you can get it?
DONOVAN: I can understand passengers' concern about being exposed, but this is something that is transmitted with direct contact of body fluids.
SIMON: If saliva or bodily fluids gets either on a tray or arm rest and you touch it and then touch your nose or mouth?
DONOVAN: In a very rare scenario, then I would say --
COOPER: Had a problem there with Dan Simon's piece, we apologize for that. Still, there is quite a bit to talk about especially given how many other even more contagious diseases maybe coming our way.
We'll take up panel, how prepared are we to stop viruses that are in every sense of the word airborne because there are plenty of viruses that are, we'll tell you about them and whether we're prepared for that.
COOPER: Well, tonight's breaking news, NBC news is reporting that an American freelance cameraman working in Africa has been diagnosed with Ebola and will head back to the U.S. for treatment.
Also, the friend of Ebola patient Thomas Duncan was staying with in Dallas, the mother of his son, is speaking out for the first time in a CNN exclusive. I spoke to her earlier today.
And United Airlines is voluntarily reaching out to passengers who were on two flights that Duncan took after leaving Liberia last month. Now the fact he was able to fly from Liberia to Dallas with the Ebola virus incubating inside him has raised a host of question of concerns. Joining me again is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Irwin Redlener and David Quammen. So Sanjay, I want to ask you about the American cameraman working for NBC who was just diagnosed with Ebola. You have been reading more details. What do you make of this?
GUPTA: Well, you know, this is an American who has been living and working in Liberia for the last three years on various projects. So he has been there for some time.
What is interesting, this past Tuesday, I guess, when he started working for NBC probably on this new project with Nancy Snyderman, and Wednesday, he noticed that he had a fever, he was getting a routine fever check.
Why he was getting a routine fever check, unclear, maybe he was already worried about an exposure. But regardless, that fever check showed that in fact he did have a slight fever, and at that point, he went to "Doctors Without Borders" camp.
He was quarantined and he was tested. It took about 12 hours for the test to come back and it came back positive for Ebola. So don't know how sick he is certainly at this point, but he is flown back to the United States to get treatment as you heard -- Anderson.
COOPER: Dr. Redlener, it really is interesting. You and I are talking about this before the break. Again, the health care system relies on people at the airport to self-report. And somebody who -- if it is true that Mr. Duncan had been in contact with an Ebola patient who died, a woman who he had been helping.
It is very possible he just wanted to get out of Liberia in order to get to a place where there was better medical treatment and it is very possible he wanted to get out or not tell the truth because they want to get on the flight.
REDLENER: The reality is he actually was helping someone who had known Ebola who was rejected from the hospital because they couldn't take her. So here he is having handled her, he knows the hospital won't take him. He says I'm exposed, perhaps, where would I rather be, in Liberia or in the United States or some other western country?
And I think that would be a big motivator and it would be for most of us if we were facing the dilemma of having Ebola. But we're depending on a lot of self-reporting in making the determination on what needs to happen.
COOPER: David, there are those who say there should not be any flights accepted from Liberia to the United States or even flights that have connected through Europe. That is not even really possible.
I mean, given -- first of all I don't think there are many flights that directly connect from Monrovia to the United States. It is virtually impossible from a town like that to track somebody I would think.
QUAMMEN: It is virtually impossible to track somebody, and impossible really to seal off those connections. Isolation is very important for dealing with this disease. But that means isolation of individual cases. You can't isolate neighborhoods or nations. It doesn't work.
And people talk about well, we should not allow any flights in from Liberia. I mean, we in America, how dare we turn our backs on Liberia given the fact that this is a country that was founded in the 1820s, 1830s because of American slavery. We have a responsibility to stay connected with them and help them see this through.
COOPER: Dr. Redlener, I want to ask you a question that comes from one of our viewers. She asks, can you only get it once like chicken pox or can you get it more than once like the flu? I mean, if somebody had it and survived --
REDLENER: They get the antibody built up -- I'm actually not sure about that.
COOPER: Sanjay, do you know the answer to that?
GUPTA: So there are five different strains of the Ebola. The one is the Zaire strain, so if you get it you are immunized. You still have to protect yourself from the other strains if you're back in one of those endemic areas.
COOPER: And Sanjay, since a lot of the early symptoms of Ebola look like the flu or predictably like malaria for people who have been in Africa, Kenneth wants to ask you, does doctor recommends that hospitals include Ebola testing as part of a standard operating procedure for all walk-in patients at ERs and urgent care clinics with flu symptoms this coming season?
GUPTA: No, no, we're not at that point by any means, you know, certainly somebody who has flu-like symptoms, but also has the other very pertinent history. In this case, the travel through one of these countries where Ebola is circulating.
We're talking about Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, certainly so you have to put a bunch of pieces of the puzzle together. And even after that if you have a fever and you are coming from one of these countries there are still other pieces to the puzzle you put together.
Have you been in contact with patients who've had Ebola? Have you attended a public funeral? There are certain blood values, they indicate your ability to clot your blood is decreasing.
That will be clue so there are many components to this puzzle. The travel history and the symptoms are two big ones but the not only ones.
COOPER: And again, I mean, the scary part of this, Dr. Redlener, you talked about this a lot, is this is depending on people to be honest, depending on people to self-report and to be honest. And it -- you know, I mean --
REDLENER: There are so many links in the chain, Anderson, even when the person is triaged in the hospital in the United States, that information that I have traveled to one of these countries that has to go someplace and be absorbed into the diagnostic procedures that are happening there.
Because if somebody says, yes, I've been there and it is written down and nothing happens to it, again there are many, many human realities in this chain.
COOPER: Dr. Redlener, it's great to have you on again. David Quammen as well. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.
Up next, a 13-year-old boy caught in the middle of this Ebola scare. He is in quarantine because he was in the apartment where Thomas Duncan became sick. He is in that apartment with Louise, tonight his father speaks out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can't leave the house.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because he had contact with the man who has Ebola.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
TUCHMAN: It must be very scary for you as his father.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We continue to follow breaking news from our colleagues at NBC that one of their freelance photographers, an American working in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola. He'll be flown back to the states for treatment.
And as we've been reporting, the partner of Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, is in quarantine in her apartment. Also in quarantine in the same apartment, her so and two of her nephews, all of whom were there when Duncan became sick.
Her son, Timothy, is just 13-year-old. He is an eighth grader and for 21 days cannot go outside, can't go to school, can't play with his friends and can't see his dad. His father spoke with Gary Tuchman.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Peterson Wayne on the telephone with his 13- year-old son who is now in quarantine amid this Ebola scare.
PETERSON WAYNE, SON IS QUARANTINED: How are you doing? Are you OK? Where is your mommy? Is your mom home too? Is she OK?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes. TUCHMAN: Peterson Wayne moved to Texas from Liberia in the early '90s. His son's name is Timothy. Timothy's mother, Louise, is in quarantine with this child in this apartment because the Ebola victim, Thomas Eric Duncan, was a guest in the apartment until a few days ago.
WAYNE: Timothy is a nice boy, a smart little boy. Respectful. Smart in school and stuff.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So he is a great kid.
WAYNE: He is a good kid. I love him.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Peterson has talked to his kid several times since Timothy has been told he can't leave the apartment.
(on camera): Timothy has told you he is in quarantine, that he can't leave the house.
WAYNE: He can't leave the house.
TUCHMAN: Because he had contact with the man who has Ebola.
TUCHMAN: It must be very scary for you as his father.
WAYNE: I'm scared right now.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But Peterson says when he talks to his son on the phone he doesn't want to let on that he is frightened.
WAYNE: I believe he knows everything. So no need for me to go and talk about Ebola.
TUCHMAN (on camera): You don't want to scare him.
WAYNE: Exactly, just to encourage him.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Timothy is in eighth grade at this middle school. His father says he loves math and sports, and although, Peterson and Timothy's mother are no longer together, he wants the best for her. And as far as Thomas Eric Duncan.
(on camera): Are you angry at him?
WAYNE: No, not at all. I'm fine.
TUCHMAN: I mean, not angry that he is with the woman who you spent all of those years with, but angry that unintentionally he left your son in this situation.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): He says before the shock of all of this changed their lives he was about to buy his son new sneakers he had been asking for. (on camera): So when Timothy gets out of this house after 21 days, you see him in person, what would you like to do with him?
WAYNE: Give him a big hug and I'm ready to go buy his shoes.
TUCHMAN: Buy the shoes he wants?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Peterson says he wants both his son and his son's mom to know he feels they will be just fine. Before we left, I asked Peterson if I could say hello to Timothy.
(on camera): Good luck to you and we hope to see you at school soon, all right and your dad is anxious to see you at school. Your dad said I'm going to tell you a secret, he will buy you sneakers when you get out. Does that sound good?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: OK, yes.
TUCHMAN: OK, good.
(voice-over): Peterson cannot wait for that to happen.
COOPER: And Gary joins us now from Dallas, how did Peterson find out that his son was quarantined?
TUCHMAN: Peterson did not find out, Anderson, in any official way. He learned about it on the news that there was an Ebola diagnosis, but he didn't overthink it because he didn't hear the name of the victim.
Then he found out yesterday the name was Duncan, and he said, Duncan, that is the name of the guy who is staying with Louise. He got panicked. He called Timothy's school. They said Timothy was no longer in the school. He called Timothy's cell phone and Timothy said, I have to stay in the apartment for three weeks.
COOPER: Wow. All right, Gary, thanks very much for that. We'll be right back with more ahead.
COOPER: Well, the top CNN Heroes for 2014 have been announced, each getting $25,000, and the person whose named CNN Hero of the year based on your votes will get an additional $100,000 to continue his or her good work. I want you to meet the top ten CNN Heroes for this year.
COOPER: John Burns, mobilizing fellow soccer fans to make a difference in cities hosting the World Cup. Dr. Wendy Ross, helps autistic children and their families navigate challenging public setting. Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes, who turned his family's home into a refugee for children in his violent country. Ned Norton provides strength and conditioning training to people living with disabilities. Patricia Kelly, she uses horses to keep at- risk youth on the right path. Leela Hazzah is transforming the side culture in Kenya. This was helping turn so-called lion killers into lion protectors.
Arthur Bloom helped wounded troops at Walter Reed Medical Center tap into healing power of music. Ken Farraday reunited soldiers with stray animals they befriended while serving in Afghanistan. Annette Marksgrer grow up in her family's funeral home, now she helps children in Baltimore home for free.
And Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg lost his daughter to leukemia, today he helps the kids cope to pain and fear of their cancer treatments.
Amazing people, you can go to cnnheroes.com to vote for your choice for the hero of the year. You can vote once a day, everyday and on December 7th, tune in for CNN Heroes and all star tribute.
That does it for us. We'll see you again, 11:00 P.M. Eastern, another edition of 360.
"ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN" starts now.