The Liberian man, who became the first Ebola fatality in the U.S. was tearfully lionized Saturday as the disease that killed him infected two new regions of West Africa.
Duncan, who became the first Ebola fatality in the U.S., was remembered Saturday, October 18, 2014 during a tearful memorial service in North Carolina. Around the world, authorities in Guinea announced the virus has been discovered in two new areas, while former Cuban President Fidel Castro, joined an unlikely alliance involving the U.S. to help fight the epidemic in West Africa.
Thomas Duncan, aka Patient Zero, was remembered as a kind and generous soul, who reportedly contracted the fatal virus by helping out a needy pregnant woman. She later died of Ebola.
“Eric would have been out there and helped that woman,” said his nephew Josephus Weeks, referring to Duncan by his middle name, after the service inside the Rowan International Church in Salisbury, N.C. “And he would have done everything that he needed to do for that woman to make sure she was fine.”
According to a release form the US, Duncan’s mother, Garteh Korkoryah, wept from her first-row seat at the memorial, where Weeks’ 3-year-old son gently dabbed at her tears. About 40 mourners turned out at the small Southern Baptist church.
Duncan’s body was cremated after his Oct. 8 death, in accordance with federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for preventing spread of the virus. Another memorial service will be held once his fiancée, Louise Troh, finishes up a 21-day monitoring period to ensure she is not infected. Duncan was the father of four, but none of his children was able to attend the service.
Authorities in Guinea, where the Ebola death toll has hit 887, announced the virus was discovered in two areas where it was previously unseen. More than 4,500 West Africans are dead in the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Concerns about the Ebola spread were heightened by reports that the infections in a village near the city of Siguiri are just 19 miles from a working gold mine. As yet, none of the employees is infected and the mine remains operational, authorities said.