Medical workers in Dallas wore no special protective gear for two days while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan,
who became ill with the Ebola virus after arriving in the United States from Liberia and died Oct. 8, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital personnel started treating Duncan Sept. 28 but didn't wear hazmat suits until Sept. 30, when he was officially diagnosed with Ebola, the newspaper reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating if that three-day window could be the key to understanding how two nurses
contracted Ebola, the newspaper reports.
More than 70 workers were exposed to Duncan before he died, but hospital officials have not indicated how many treated him in the initial few days, the newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, the nation's biggest nurses union has called on President Barack Obama to impose strict national standards to protect healthcare workers from the hemorrhagic disease, The Hill reports.
"This month has been a nightmare for the nurses across the nation," National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro said Wednesday. "They're looking for answers."
The nurses want Obama to direct federal health and safety agencies to set up additional regulations for the use of personal protection and hazardous material suits by workers who come into contact with patients who may have Ebola.
The union also wants requirements for training for nurses.
"The only way to adequately confront [the] Ebola crisis... is for the president to invoke his executive authority to mandate uniform, national standards and protocols that all hospitals must follow to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers, and the public," the group said.
The nurses group joined other employee advocates and labor unions calling for increased protections for hospital and airport workers who could be exposed to the disease, including the Service Employees International Union.
"The Ebola virus presents a new and different challenge with protocols that are intensive and require the right equipment, regular drills and enhanced staffing," said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, The Hill reports.
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