Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | Texas | Africa | US | Vinson | health worker

Second Victim's Flight From Ohio to Texas Spreads Ebola Fears

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 02:11 PM

Concerns over the spread of Ebola have stretched from Texas to Ohio after it was learned that the second healthcare worker to contract the deadly disease flew from Cleveland to Dallas one day before she was diagnosed.

The Ohio Health Department said it is tracing the contacts of Texas nurse Amber Vinson and is working with Frontier Airlines officials to track down additional people the nurse may have come into contact with, spokesman Jay Carey said.

The airline said there were 132 passengers aboard Vinson's flight Monday night, Frontier Airlines Flight 1143. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to speak with passengers on the Monday flight and is notifying them. It is also asking them to call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

Vinson should not have boarded a domestic flight in the days before she was diagnosed, although there was an "extremely low likelihood" that she could have infected fellow travelers, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said Wednesday on Newsmax TV that the CDC and the Obama administration need to be upfront about how exactly the two healthcare workers contracted the virus — and if there was a breakdown in protocols.

Story continues below video of Sen. Ron Johnson on "America's Forum."

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"She was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola. She should not have traveled on a commercial airline," Frieden told reporters.

CDC guidelines outline the need for "controlled movement," and that does not include taking any kind of public transportation, he said.

The CDC director said Vinson was currently "ill but clinically stable" and that she would be transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

Meanwhile, officials at Kent State University in Ohio are telling members of the patient's family to stay off campus and self-monitor themselves for the next three weeks after it was learned she is related to three Kent State employees.

Vinson attended Kent State, but did not visit the campus while she was in Ohio last weekend, the university said Wednesday. Kent State President Beverly Warren said in a statement that Vinson stayed with her family at their home in Summit County and did not step foot on the campus.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we're asking the patient's family members to remain off campus for the next 21 days and self-monitor per CDC protocol," said Dr. Angela DeJulius, Kent State's health services director.

The second infection of a Texas healthcare worker with the deadly Ebola virus is "very concerning," officials said Wednesday, warning more U.S. cases were possible in coming days.

Both became infected while caring for a Liberian patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Duncan died Oct. 8 of the virus. He flew into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on a United Airlines flight from Washington's Dulles Airport. That case led U.S. officials to expand health screening of passengers from West Africa who arrive at five major U.S. airports.

Frieden said Vinson was self-monitoring for signs of Ebola symptoms, and she found her temperature to be 99.5 — short of the 100.4 fever threshold that would have required her to seek medical care given her recent exposure to an Ebola patient — and that her colleague's diagnosis was not yet known when she boarded the plane.

Nina Pham, the first nurse who contracted Ebola in the U.S., also became ill after treating Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

"At that point it was not yet known that there had been exposures in the care of the patient," Frieden said.

Vinson flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 10 and returned on Oct. 13.

She discovered she had a fever on Tuesday and was immediately isolated in a hospital. Her preliminary diagnosis came back later that night and was announced Wednesday.

"She did not vomit. She was not bleeding. So the level of risk of people around her would be extremely low, but because of that extra margin of safety we will be contacting them all," Frieden said.

In Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a news conference Wednesday that Vinson, 29, lives alone and has no pets.

He said local health officials moved quickly to clean affected areas and to alert her neighbors and friends. A decontamination could be seen taking place at her home.

Residents of The Bend East in the Village apartment complex were awoken early Wednesday by text messages from property managers saying a neighbor had tested positive for Ebola, and pamphlets had been stuffed beneath doors and left under doormats, said a resident who asked not to be named.

Other residents were concerned enough that they were limiting time spent outdoors.

"Everybody thinks this won't happen because we are in the United States. But it is happening," said Esmeralda Lazalde, who lives about a mile from where Pham, the first healthcare worker to get the virus in the U.S., resides.

Both Pham and Vinson had extensive contact with Duncan from Sept. 28 through Sept. 30, when he was diagnosed with Ebola. He was vomiting and had diarrhea during that time, Frieden said.

"The assessment of the team is that in those first several days in the hospital, a variety of forms of personal protective equipment were used," Frieden.

"It is critical that be done consistently and correctly."

The gear includes a mask, gown, gloves and face shield.

Frieden said health officials are preparing for more Ebola cases in the U.S. "The investigation is identifying additional healthcare workers who will be very closely monitored and we are planning for the possibility of additional cases in the coming days."

News that a health worker diagnosed with Ebola flew on a commercial flight the night before showing symptoms raised fears on Wall Street that the scare over the virus could reduce air travel.

Shares of the biggest U.S. airlines tumbled between 4 percent and 6 percent in afternoon trading. Shares of Republic Airways Holdings, which owns Frontier, sank more than 4 percent

Frontier Airlines' crew reports that Vinson showed no symptoms during the flight.

Since the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. last month, attention has focused mostly on travelers from West Africa, the center of the epidemic.

But Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said the latest case raises new questions about the Dallas hospital that treated the Liberian man and employed the two health workers who contracted Ebola after treating him.

Mann said that if the second worker showed no symptoms on her Frontier flight, the decision to notify other passengers was made out of extra caution. "But all that rational thought aside, it may cause some people to delay trips," he said.

United Continental Holdings was down $2.78, or 6.4 percent, to $40.39; Delta Airlines fell $1.51, or 4.6 percent, to $31.28; and American Airlines Group dropped $1.36, or 4.3 percent, to $30.15.

Republic Airways shares were down 47 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $10.20.

Airline stocks have slumped in recent weeks on Ebola fears and concern about slower growth in the global economy, which could offset the benefit to airlines from falling fuel prices.

AFP, the Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this story.

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Concerns over the spread of Ebola have stretched from Texas to Ohio after it was learned that the second healthcare worker to contract the deadly disease flew from Cleveland to Dallas one day before she was diagnosed.
Ebola, Texas, Africa, US, Vinson, health worker, second
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2014-11-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 02:11 PM
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