Texas nurse has Ebola after working with patient

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DALLAS, Texas — A female nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola after a preliminary test, the state’s health agency said.

Confirmatory testing will be conducted Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Test results are expected to be announced later in the day.

The nurse helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person ever diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Duncan died Wednesday.

The nurse is in stable condition, Texas Health Resources chief clinical officer Dan Varga said.

The nurse was involved in Duncan’s second visit to the hospital, when he was admitted for treatment, and was wearing protective gear as prescribed by the CDC: gown, gloves, mask and shield, Varga said.

A “close contact” of the nurse has been “proactively” placed in isolation, he added.

“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement Sunday morning.”We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”

The nurse reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was isolated, the health department said. The preliminary test result came in late Saturday.

If confirmed by the CDC, the nurse’s case would mark the first known transmission of Ebola in the United States and the second-ever diagnosis in the country.

David Sanders, associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue University, said he thinks the CDC testing will probably support the preliminary results.

“It sounds likely that it’s positive, and it’s going to stay positive.”

The news that a health care worker might have the disease is not completely unexpected, an infectious disease specialist told CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think we’ve always expected that there may be another individual who will come down with the Ebola from the transmission of this one particular person, and we always felt that it was going to likely be one of his close contacts or one of the health care workers, because that’s the way this virus works,” Dr. Frank Esper said.

Esper said Texas officials have been keeping a close eye on people who had contact with Duncan.

“I will tell you that the fact that we identified this individual so quickly is actually to me a sign that the system is working,” he added.

Globally, the disease has wrought catastrophic consequences.

The World Health Organization estimates more than 8,300 people have contracted Ebola during this year’s outbreak. Of those, more than 4,000 have died.

Ebola is actually very difficult to catch. People are at risk if they come into very close contact with the blood, saliva, sweat, feces, semen, vomit or soiled clothing of an Ebola patient, or if they travel to affected areas in West Africa and come into contact with someone who has Ebola.

Those stricken with Ebola suffer ghastly symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, fever and unexplained bleeding.

Three countries — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — have been hardest hit. And many of those who care for the ill have also come down with the disease.

The World Health Organization estimates at least 416 health care workers have contracted Ebola, and at least 233 have died.

In Liberia, health care workers are threatening to strike if their work conditions don’t improve.

The first infection outside of Africa happened in a nurse’s aide in Spain, Teresa Romero Ramos. She became sick after she helped treat an Ebola-stricken Spanish missionary.

Her case has prompted questions from fellow medical professionals about whether they are properly equipped to safely treat Ebola patients.

For weeks, health officials have been monitoring those who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized and isolated.

Duncan left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in Dallas on September 20. Four days later, he began feeling ill; the following night, he went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

But despite telling a hospital worker that he had arrived from Liberia, Duncan was sent home with antibiotics. He returned a few days later and tested positive for Ebola.

It’s not clear whether the health care worker in the second Ebola case contracted the disease during Duncan’s first visit to the hospital or after he was isolated.

But now, the search begins for all the contacts whom that worker came in contact with.

“We need a whole new crew of people to do contact tracing,” said Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent.

Because Ebola’s incubation period can last up to 21 days, the health care worker’s contacts will have to be monitored for three weeks.

The Texas health department said officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures.

“This is not an easy thing,” Cohen said. “Keeping track of large numbers of people, taking their temperature twice a day, making sure they don’t leave town, all of that is a lot of work.”


    • Something to Ponder

      Make of this what you will but the nurse who has nit now only came into contact with Duncan AFTER he came back to the hospital and they knew he had ebola. She was apparently dressed in full protective hazmat gear while tending care. Now either something went wrong or ebola IS airborne and they aren’t saying that because people would panic! We aren’t getting the truth, I fear.

      • Mel

        She didn’t initially treat him in full hazmat gear. He wasn’t diagnosed with Ebola until a two days after his -second- visit to the hospital and she cared for him both before and after he was diagnosed (says this article). In this article it describes her initial personal protective equipment : gown, gloves, mask and shield. That is not a hazmat suit. Heck, that’s what a dentist wears. There is still reasonable room for transmission there without jumping to the conclusion that we’re dealing with an airborne disease.

      • The ANTI EVIL

        DEFINITELY another mode of transmission we’re not being told of!!

        Sue the hospital??? THEY SHOULD SUE ALL of YOU then ship you ALL back to your country!

        Go HOME!!!!!!!
        Your plan for him to be cured by getting into U.S. FAILED!

        HOPEFULLY hospital will take ALL YOU OWN to pay portion of your lying families hospital bill. Then sue YOU for the rest before booting you all out of here!

  • Barackobammyaintmymammy

    This is all your fault Obama all you had to do is shut off traffic from the African nations that have this disease but you chose to let it in. You’re an epidemic.

    • Something to Ponder

      The guy who died in Texas did not fly from Africa. He came via Brussels but flew from Africa to there. I don’t think the US is allowing direct flights from the affected areas but we cannot control what other controls do I guess. Scary when you think about it.

  • markas

    I am a strong Obama supporter but I do believe it is time to control travel to the U.S. Direct travel from the three hardest hit countries should be temporarily suspended. While we cannot control flights freom other counytries we can monitor the passports of all individuals including what countries they originated fgrom or have visitred in the past. We should not allow anyone in who has been in the hotspot area within the past 30 days. All of this is well within our capabilities. We spend billions fighting terrortism “over there” before it comes here, we should certainly take these simple protective measures. The countries involved are not high travel destinations anyway. Many countries do not allow U.S. or British beef imports because of the small threat of mad cow disease, and this is a potentially far more serious problem. I am not particularly afraid of Ebola in the U.S. I am not panicking over it, nor do I think it will become a major epidemic here. I simply think temporary travel restrictions are appropriate at this point in time.

  • Cynthia


      • The ANTI EVIL

        DEFINITELY another mode of transmission we’re not being told of!!

        Sue the hospital??? THEY SHOULD SUE ALL of YOU then ship you ALL back to your country!

        Go HOME!!!!!!!
        Your plan for him to be cured by getting into U.S. FAILED!

        HOPEFULLY hospital will take ALL YOU OWN to pay portion of your lying families hospital bill. Then sue YOU for the rest before booting you all out of here!

  • Truthy

    President Obola has really dropped the ball on this. And he still won’t keep these Ebola infected people out of the country!

      • Can'tSilenceTruth

        Only a depraved baby killing liberal would disagree with keep Ebola infected people away from our country. Maybe they can ship in more Ebola patients and move them next to where you live.

      • Rude Druid

        I value the CDEC’s opinion more than the opinion of some Mid-South Teabagger with no discernible expertise or knowledge..

        I don’t understand the logic of the CDC entirely — I’m not sure there is any kind of solution –, but I trust the guys with the advanced degrees in this and related fields, not poorly educated demagogues and racists.

        It’s like I tell these right-wing TP-oriented lay constitutional experts — go to law school, graduate, pass a bar exam — and THEN we can talk about the meaning of the Constitution.

        I’m also not interested in the opinions of people whose real issue is Obama as President.

  • Realist

    You should be embarrassed to admit you’re still an Obama follower. You know it’s pretty bad when Democrats running for elections are telling him to stay away. I wish the CDC could stop the spread of liberalism in this country but fortunately it’s not fatal.

  • ben smith

    The real question is the choice of protective gear the RN and others were directed to use. Were the items part of the full hazmat suit?Or were healthcare workers directed to use the thin plastic gowns, vinyl gloves, and surgical mask w/ shield? If the latter, that is negligence on the part of the facility and the CDC for recommending such.
    Our government shoulders the blame for not being proactive in putting up safeguards for the past several months. Obama is the Chief Executive,but not the only one who should be castigated. This is a prime example of how broken and dysfunctional our government has become. We are “led” by nothing more than posers and puppets. The sad part of it all is that the voting citizenry let it all happen.- The cast a ballot and forget mentality. We may whine about deserving better,but until we can look in the mirror every day and admit our fault; same sh*t,different day.

  • Cityisajoke

    If it’s so hard to catch, how is it the nurse caught it wearing all of this junk???? These people are lieing to us ya’ll…… this mess is airborne and they know it!

  • Pray for Texans

    She needs to get out of Texas ASAP! That region of Texas is very weak in the area of Infectious Disease for a couple of reasons. (1) Doctors have had their licenses threatened for administering antibiotics, (2) The area is overpopulated with student doctors, (3) Competent Infectious Disease doctors are a rare gem in the area. Her family needs to move her out of state immediately. It’s sad to say, but my family and I already knew that the guy wouldn’t make it if he stayed. Everyone that I know that needed specialized care would travel to Houston (depending on condition) or leave for treatment elsewhere.

  • Martha

    Quarantine could stop this. It worked for all those on Ellis Island to help prevent Tb. Yes we had relatives (immigrants who were granted citizenship because grandfather fought in WW 2 ) who were not allowed here until quarantined first. Polio victims were quarantined also. It is my right and the great grandchildren, my kids, to be protected from disease. If you go to disease ridden areas then u pay the consequences by quarantine.

Comments are closed.