A second Texas nurse who has been recently diagnosed with the deadly virus revealed that she had a slight fever and still was allowed to board a plane from Ohio to Texas. This information was also confirmed by a federal source on Wednesday, that intensified concerns about the U.S. response to the disease.
The nurse, Amber Vinson, 29, flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, the day before she was diagnosed with Ebola, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Vinson said that her temperature was 99.5 Fahrenheit (37.5 Celsius). Since that was below the CDC’s temperature threshold of 100.4F (38C) “she was not told not to fly,” the source said.
“Chances that other passengers were infected were very low because Vinson did not vomit on the flight and was not bleeding, but she should not have been aboard, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters,” Reuters reports. “Congress will hold a hearing on Thursday on the U.S. response to Ebola, with Frieden and other officials scheduled to testify.”
The nurse was isolated immediately after reporting a fever on Tuesday. She had treated Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Oct. 8 and was the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States.
The Dallas County Commissioners Court is set on Thursday to discuss whether to ask Governor Rick Perry to declare a local emergency. The declaration would help reimburse Dallas County for expenses related to Ebola.
Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, which includes Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, is to apologize on Thursday for mistakes made in treating Duncan, the man who died of Ebola in Dallas.
“We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry,” he said in online testimony prepared for the congressional hearing.
The current Ebola outbreak is the worst one on record and it has already claimed lives of more than 4,000 people, mostly in West Africa’s Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Duncan, a Liberian, was exposed to Ebola in his home country and developed the disease while visiting the United States.
“The new case prompted President Barack Obama to order federal authorities to take additional steps to ensure the American medical system is prepared to follow correct protocols in dealing with Ebola, the White House said on Sunda,” Reuters reports.
It’s still unknown how the health worker was infected, but the director of theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed to reporters that it indicated a professional lapse that may have caused other health workers at the hospital to be infected with Ebola as well.
“We don’t know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original patient, in Dallas, but at some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told a news conference.