A 29-year-old nurse named Amber Joy Vinson was identified Wednesday morning as the second U.S. health care worker to be infected with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan for the viral disease at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Another THP nurse who treated Duncan, 26-year-old Nina Pham, was identified Monday as the first person to contract the virus in the U.S.
Vinson reported a fever on Tuesday and was isolated “within 90 minutes” after her temperature was taken, health officials said. A preliminary Ebola test came back positive and a confirmatory test is being conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It was revealed on Wednesday that Vinson flew to and from Cleveland and Dallas days before showing symptoms.
Update 1:09 p.m. EDT: CDC director Tom Frieden said Vinson should not have taken the flight. The CDC said either Vinson or Pham will be flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, but did not specify which one.
BREAKING: CDC director: health worker exposed to Ebola should not have traveled on a commercial airline.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 15, 2014
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUED:
Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland last Wednesday and returned on Monday. Both trips were on Frontier Airlines flights, according to NBC News. She did not show symptoms on either flight, according to the flight crew. The CDC has sent out a request to all flight passengers to contact the agency.
MORE: CDC and Frontier Airlines are working to reach out to all 132 passengers who flew on Flight 1143 on Oct. 13 pic.twitter.com/zVFDZXSGVM
â€” NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 15, 2014
Information from Frontier Airlines statement:
"At approximately 1:00 a.m. MT on October 15, Frontier was notified by the CDC that a customer traveling on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13 has since tested positive for the Ebola virus. The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 p.m. local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day at which point the aircraft received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland last night. Previously the customer had traveled from Dallas Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on October 10."
Duncan was treated at the Dallas hospital after traveling from Liberia, one of three West African countries hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. He died on Oct. 8. A nurses union said Texas Health Presbyterian did not do enough to protect its workers from the virus. The hospital received criticism last week after it was revealed that Duncan was initially sent home after going to the hospital with a fever and disclosing his travel history.
The criticism has prompted the CDC to form rapid response teams that will deploy to any hospital across the country that reports a case of Ebola. Ebola patients are not contagious until they start showing symptoms, which include vomiting, diarrhea and fever. The Ebola virus has a 21-day incubation period, meaning a patient may not show symptoms of the disease for up to three weeks after being infected. Health workers must isolate potential victims for at least that long to ensure they are not infected.