UPDATE 12:00 PM EST
The second healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. has been identified as Amber Vinson.
Health officials announced Wednesday afternoon that Vinson was a passenger on a Frontier Airlines Flight from Cleveland to Dallas-Forth Worth on Monday. Officials are now tracking down the 132 passengers aboard the flight to alert them about Vinson’s diagnosis.
The airplane’s crew said the nurse had no symptoms of Ebola during the flight. But the next morning she developed a fever and on Tuesday night tested positive for Ebola.
Infected Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they have symptoms. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking the passengers to call the health agency so they can be monitored.
The flight landed in Dallas at 8:16 p.m. Monday, stayed there overnight, and underwent a thorough cleaning before returning to service the next day. The cleaning was consistent with CDC guidelines, according to a Frontier Airlines statement released by CDC officials.
The CDC is asking passengers aboard Monday’s flight to call 1-800-CDC INFO (1-800-232-4636).
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the worker, who also treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was isolated immediately after reporting a fever on Tuesday.
“Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored,” it said in a statement.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at an early morning news conference on Wednesday the second infected nurse lived alone and had no pets. He said local health officials moved quickly to clean affected areas involving the second nurse and alerting her neighbors and friends.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is doing everything it can to contain the virus, said Dr. Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources, which owns the hospital. “I don’t think we have a systematic institutional problem,” he said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the hospital was unprepared to deal with their first Ebola patient.
Director Thomas Frieden said workers weren’t provided full-body biohazard suits until three days after Duncan was admitted to the hospital. The patient was also left in the room with others for several hours before isolation. These oversights may have exposed at least 76 people.
From the Washington Post:
DC Director Thomas Frieden expressed regret Tuesday that his agency had not done more to help the hospital control the infection. He said that, from now on, “Ebola response teams” will travel within hours to any hospital in the United States with a confirmed Ebola case. Already, one of those teams is in Texas and has put in place a site-manager system, requiring that someone monitor the use of personal protective equipment.
“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed,” he said. “That might have prevented this infection.”
With the latest diagnosis, the CDC, which has come under fire for their response to the disease in the U.S., said in a statement that it was performing confirmation testing of Texas’ preliminary tests.
“An additional health care worker testing positive for Ebola is a serious concern, and the CDC has already taken active steps to minimize the risk to health care workers and the patient,” it said in a statement.
Nina Pham, the first person infected with Ebola in the U.S., is said to be in “good condition” after receiving a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor. She cared for Duncan, who died on Oct. 8, for much of his stay in the hospital.
The second healthcare worker has yet to be identified. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.