Updated 02:59 AM EST, Tue, Nov 30, 2021

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014 News & Update: Dallas DA May Press Charges

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As the saga of the first Ebola case on U.S. soil continues to unfold, more information is being gained about the victim and his motives for coming to America. Allegedly Eric Duncan had been having a relationship with a Dallas women and he ventured over to America with the intention of marrying her. Duncan's son also lives in the U.S. so a planned visit was scheduled via emails that authorities have obtained.

Aside from the motive for the trip, officials are now looking into whether criminal charges should be brought against Duncan. Although this is not the first case of its kind, there is an interesting ethical question that must be addressed when an individual puts others at risk, not directly but secondarily due to a sickness.

"We are actively having discussions as to whether or not we need to look into this as relates to a criminal matter," said District Attorney Craig Watkins during NBC 5's "Lone Star Politics" on Friday. "If it warrants a Dallas County prosecution then we will pursue it. But it may be more of a federal issue."

It also remains unclear who would be the prosecutor due to the somewhat complex nature of the case. Duncan entered into the U.S. from Liberia, which would make it a federal case. However, Duncan landed in Dallas where he exposed citizens to the virus, which would be classified as the actual crime so to speak.

The Liberian government has also stated that they will press charges against Duncan if he is deported back to the country. Duncan lied on a pre-flight screening test, saying that he had not been in contact with anyone who was infected with the virus. This was found out to be false information, and so while Duncan did not intentionally spread the virus, he did know there was a chance he might have had it.

It is also unknown if anyone who Duncan came into contact with has the virus. So far the three children and the Dallas women are not showing symptoms of the virus. This once again adds to the complexity of the case because there was potentially a risk that Ebola could have been spread, although it was not.

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