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Second Texas health worker tests positive for EbolaAP

Published:Thursday | October 16, 2014 | 10:00 AM
A security guard checks the ID of a resident walking in the parking lot of The Village Bend East apartments where a second health-care worker lives who tested positive for Ebola, yesterday, in Dallas. -AP Photo

DALLAS (AP):A second Dallas hospital worker who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States has tested positive for the disease, and officials yesterday began reaching out to passengers who had been on a flight with her the day before she fell ill.

It's not clear how the worker contracted the virus, though the second case among health workers pointed to lapses beyond how one individual may have donned and removed personal protective garb.

Authorities declined to say what position she holds at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital or the type of care she provided to Thomas Eric Duncan, who was diagnosed with Ebola after coming to the US from Liberia. Duncan died on October 8.

Infected Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they have symptoms. The airplane's crew said the woman had no symptoms during Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday. She had travelled from Dallas to Cleveland on October 10.

The CDC said it is alerting the 132 passengers who were on the return flight "because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning." Officials are asking them to call the health agency so they can be monitored.

Officials have said they also don't know how the first health worker, a nurse, became infected. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said "an additional health care worker testing positive for Ebola is a serious concern."

"What happened there (in Dallas), regardless of the reason, is not acceptable. It shouldn't have happened," Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of NIH, said on MSNBC yesterday.

The worker was monitoring herself for symptoms, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. The unidentified woman reported a fever Tuesday. She was in isolation within 90 minutes, Jenkins said.

"We are looking at every element of our personal protection equipment and infection control in the hospital," said Dr Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, which operates Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.