Two Texas Nurses Test Positive for Ebola
October 15, 2014 • By Tiffani Knowles

Two Texas nurses who helped to treat Thomas Eric Duncan – the Liberian man who was the first to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the U.S. – have now come down with the illness.


Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vinson, 29, both nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, are now positive for Ebola even though they wore protective gear – face masks, gloves, leg coverings and boots - while treating Duncan.


After Pham came down with a fever on Monday, her dog - a brown and white Cavalier King Charles spaniel - was removed from her apartment and is being cared for at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center, where he will be tested for Ebola, Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said.


Vinson is raising even further concerns today about disease control after she took a commercial flight from Dallas to Cleveland, Ohio on October 10 to prepare for her upcoming wedding. On Monday, Vinson flew back from Cleveland to Dallas on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, arriving at 8:16 p.m. She had no specific Ebola symptoms, but her temperature was 99.5 degrees that morning.


Before she boarded that flight, Vinson informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that she was running a temperature, a federal official told The Washington Post. That was below the 100.4-degree­ threshold in CDC guidelines for screening travelers who have been in Ebola-affected countries, and which triggers a secondary screening. So, the CDC allowed Vinson to travel on the plane back to Dallas, said the official.


Chances that other passengers on the plane were infected were very low, but the nurse should not have been traveling on the flight given her possible exposure to Ebola at her workplace, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told Reuters reporters Wednesday. Obviously, the CDC has their lines crossed.


Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola shortly after midnight on October 15 and was then flown to Emory University Hospital.


It was the same hospital that on September 9 an unnamed patient, who had been working for the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone, was admitted. The patient was still there as of today.


"Given the national focus on Ebola, particularly with the diagnosis in two health care workers, I want to share the news that I am recovering from this disease, and that I anticipate being discharged very soon, free from the Ebola virus and able to return safely to my family and to my community," the unnamed patient said in a statement released to ABC News on Oct. 15.


Thomas Eric Duncan died on October 8 – the first person to die of Ebola on U.S. soil since the outbreak began in West Africa back in March.


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