Photos offer insight after Ebola decontamination

DALLAS — Fifty-one people have been cleared, but another 116 remain under active surveillance until November 7 for symptoms of the Ebola virus in Dallas.

The two Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for "patient zero" Thomas Eric Duncan remain hospitalized. Nina Pham started her first full week of treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland; Amber Vinson continues treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Her family has asked for total privacy.

Photos released Monday offer evidence of how Ebola ravages the bodies — and the homes — of those it infects. The pictures offered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality show the process of decontaminating the homes of the two nurses.

They begin with crews in full hazardous materials gear outside the apartment of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse Amber Vinson, which is shielded from view. Tarps covered the ground as teams dug through her everyday belongings.

In all, the commission said the crew filled 53 blue drums with keepsakes, bedding and carpet that could have posed a risk.

It's a process the loved ones of Dallas' first Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, know well. The apartment of his fiancée, Louise Troh, was formally cleaned, and the family quarantined.

Early Monday, we learned they had been in isolation at a retreat home belonging to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

"Louise is still going through that time of loss and pain," said Bishop Kevin Farrell, who spoke to Troh Monday after her release from quarantine. "I felt that there was a great sense of relief, that this chapter is finally over, but at the same time, she has concern for the future."

Bishop Farrell said Troh worries about how the community will receive her family once they return to what is now a very different home.

TCEQ photos of nurse Nina Pham's home after decontamination tell the story. The apartment looks practically back to the way it was before she moved in. The refrigerator and cabinets are empty, and only a few large items remain. They are proof of her life before the virus, and another symbol of how Ebola has turned it upside down.

In all, the TCEQ said it filled 53 barrels with Vinson's belongings, 21 from Pham and five from the City of Dallas. All were driven to a Port Arthur Texas facility, where they were incinerated.


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