Date
21 November 2017
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said safety protocol has been breached at the Dallas hospital. Photo: AFP
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said safety protocol has been breached at the Dallas hospital. Photo: AFP

Ebola fears spread as Dallas nurse contracts virus

US health officials warned there may be more cases of Ebola infection in the country in the next few days after a Dallas nurse who treated a Liberian before he died of the deadly virus last week has tested positive for the disease, the New York Times reported.

Although the nurse was wearing protective gear, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Sunday that the latest report indicated a clear breach of safety protocol at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the report said.

The hospital at first did not recognize the Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, as a potential Ebola patient when he first sought treatment there. Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the disease in the US, died last Wednesday.

The nurse has tested positive for Ebola after she reported a low-grade fever Friday night, according to the newspaper.

CDC director Thomas Frieden said all hospitals should be able to recognize potential Ebola cases, and diagnose and isolate patients, because travelers with possible exposures could turn up almost anywhere.

The nurse had extensive contact with Duncan on several occasions after his second visit and admission to the hospital on Sept. 28, Frieden said.

Duncan, who left Liberia on Sept. 19, first went to the emergency room on Sept. 25. He was released but returned days later after his condition worsened.

Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, which oversees Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, insisted that the nurse was wearing protective gear when she came into contact with Duncan.

“This individual was following full CDC precautions,” Varga was quoted as saying. “Gown, glove, mask and shield.”

Frieden, however, said the latest report showed the safety protocol at the hospital had been breached.

“Unfortunately it is possible in the coming days that we will see additional cases of Ebola,” he said, adding that everyone who had treated Duncan was now considered to be potentially exposed.

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CG

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