The Dallas nurse who tested positive for Ebola wore full protective gear while caring for Ebola-stricken Thomas Eric Duncan. This seemingly indicates that the existing protocol for handling Ebola patients in the United States is not as reliable as originally thought.
On Sunday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportedly warned that we could see more Ebola cases in the coming days.
"Unfortunately, it is possible that in the coming days we will see additional cases of Ebola," said CDC head Tom Frieden.
The Dallas nurse's preliminary test results were announced early Sunday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
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Reverse 911 calls are being made to residents living near the female nurse’s home.
Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, said the worker had been self-monitoring her health, including taking her temperature twice daily.
When the worker showed signs of a fever, she was admitted into isolation. Varga said the process took less than 90 minutes.
“That health-care worker is a heroic person who helped provide care to Mr. Duncan,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told the Washington Post. “We expected that it was possible that a second person could contract the virus. Contingency plans were put into place, and the hospital will discuss the way that the health-care worker followed those contingency plans, which will make our jobs in monitoring and containment much easier in this case than in the last one.”
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The CDC claims the nurse, who is in stable condition, wasn’t considered “high risk,” Varga told The Post. The worker was “following full CDC precautions,” wearing gloves, a mask, a gown and a protective face shield while she treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 28.
“We’re very concerned,” Varga says, adding that the hospital is “confident that the precautions that we have in place are protecting our health-care workers.”
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said in a statement. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
Duncan, the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died four days ago. He traveled by plane from Liberia to Texas via Brussels and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / European Commission DG ECHO