Sunday, October 12, 2014

Second Ebola Case In Dallas: Nurse Who Wore Full Protective Gear

October 12, 2014 - Another case of Ebola in the US: The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that an unidentified nurse who helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who died of Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas last Wednesday, has tested positive for the virus in a preliminary test in Austin, which will be double-checked by the Centers for Disease Control.

UPDATE, October 16, 2014: CDC official told feverish Ebola nurse Amber Vinson that she could take a commercial flight from Cleveland to she did.

A report by The Verge says that a hospital official said the nurse was "following full CDC precautions," including a mask, gloves, gown, and face shield while caring for Duncan when he arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's emergency room on September 28th. At a press conference in Atlanta this morning, CDC director Tom Frieden said that "clearly, there was a breach in protocol," adding that the agency will "undertake a thorough investigation to understand how this may have happened." 

"The newly diagnosed patient was one of the nurses involved in his treatment," reports ArsTechnica. "According to the BBC, the nurse wore standard protective gear during the treatment: gown, gloves, respiratory mask, and face shield. Nevertheless, the individual began experiencing a low-grade fever, and checked into the same hospital where he or she works; the patient has been kept in isolation since. Authorities are currently preventing anyone from entering the individual's apartment pending a decontamination."
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility.”

A news release this morning from the Texas Department of State Health Services states the following:

A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the Ebola patient hospitalized there has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test at the state public health laboratory in Austin. Confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. The preliminary ​test result was received late Saturday.

"We knew a second case could be a reality, and we've been preparing for this possibility," said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. "We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread."

Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures. People who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.

"Federal and state health officials have been tracking 48 people identified as having close or possible contact with Mr. Duncan," adds WSJ. "The number included at least seven health-care workers who had close contact with him. It wasn’t immediately clear if the ill health-care worker was one of those seven."
Also See:
Ebola: Health care worker tests positive at Texas hospital BBC News
U.S. lacks a single standard for Ebola response USA Today
Ebola screening starts at New York's JFK airport  Reuters
Congressmen Call For Enhanced Ebola Screening At Texas Airports CBS-DFW
Majority of Americans Want Flights Banned From Ebola Countries: Survey NBC News
Ebola virus is 'mutating rapidly', experts warn Daily Mail UK
Exposing the five myths about Ebola Gulf News