The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has come under fire yet again for giving the second Texas nurse diagnosed with Ebola the green light before boarding a passenger flight on Monday.
Amber Vinson, the second person to contract the deadly virus in the U.S., called the CDC before her flight due to a slightly elevated temperature. The CDC allowed Vinson to board the flight because she was not exhibiting additional symptoms of Ebola.
Vinson was diagnosed just days after Texas nurse Nina Pham tested positive for the virus. Both healthcare workers treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who travelled to the U.S. from Liberia last month.
Amber Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees – below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. She was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.
CDC officials believe that Vinson was not exhibiting further symptoms on the Oct. 13 flight.
“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane – no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.
Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature.
The next day, Vinson was placed in isolation. Her temperature continued to rise and preliminary tests confirmed the diagnosis.
Following the diagnosis, the airline and other organizations are taking extra precautions. Frontier Airlines placed six crew members – two pilots and four flight attendants – on paid leave for 21 days “out of an abundance of caution,” CEO David Siegel said in a statement.
“This was over and above CDC guidance that stated that our flight crews were safe to fly,” Siegel said.
The jet that carried Vinson and 131 others to Texas is in a hanger in Denver, the airline said, ready for its fourth cleaning. The plane’s seat covers and carpet were removed around the area where Vinson was sitting, and the environmental filters were replaced, the airline said. Cleanings were also scheduled at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Vinson was flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Wednesday for treatment — the same facility that treated two missionaries who were diagnosed with Ebola in late summer. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were performing aid work in Africa, both survived.
Texas Hospital Apologizes For Ebola Mistakes
Meanwhile, the Texas hospital where Duncan died is apologizing for being unprepared to deal with the virus.
Dr. Daniel Varga said Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas mishandled the case of Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan was initially sent home from the facility despite having a fever and telling a worker he was from Liberia.
“Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes,” Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Services, said in written testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry.”
A nurse at the same hospital has also come forth, saying the nurses didn’t have Ebola training.
“We never talked about Ebola. We never had a discussion,” Briana Aguirre said.
She said she was not involved in treating Duncan, who received care at the hospital in late September and died there on October 8.
Training for Texas Health Presbyterian’s nursing staff amounted to “just information,” she said. “We were never told what to look for.”
“All I know for sure is that he (Duncan) was put into an area where there are around seven other patients,” she said. “We took around three hours to make first contact with CDC to let them know what we had of our suspicion. There were no special precautions other than basic contact precautions. No special gear.”
She said the hospital did not know what to do with one of his lab specimens.
A lab technician told Aguirre the specimen was “mishandled,” she said. “It was a chaotic scene.”
In response to the handling of Ebola in the U.S., screenings for the virus start at four airports today — Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
In addition, schools in Texas and Ohio have canceled classes.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: ABC, CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: News Inc.
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