Texas Nurse Tests Positive For Ebola

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ABOVE VIDEO: ARIRANG NEWS reports on the confirmation of the U.S.’ first known transmission of Ebola in a nurse who helped treat the Ebola-infected man from Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last Wednesday following 11 days of treatment in a Dallas, Texas hospital.  These cases highlight the dangers health care professionals face on the front lines of the Ebola crisis.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A nurse reportedly four years out of nursing school, who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola. 

According to the hospital, the nurse, who is in stable condition, was wearing full protective gear while treating Duncan in quarantine, but contracted the Ebola virus anyway.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that at some point in the treatment of Thomas Duncan there was a breach in protocol, and that breach resulted in the newly diagnosed Ebola infection of one of  the treating nurses.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that she may not be the only one.  “At some point there was a breach in protocol and that breach resulted in this infection,” CDC Dr. Director Tom Frieden said. “Unfortunately, it is possible in the coming days that we will see additional cases of Ebola. This is because the healthcare workers who cared for this individual may have had a breach of the same nature.”

The nurse, who assisted in high risk procedures like dialysis and respiratory care, was unable to identify a specific breach in protocol.

As chronicled in the excerpted report below from MedPage Today, the CDC and other health officials are focused on identifying the protocol breach, reevaluating the protocols for using personal protective gear and closely monitoring potential exposure created by this new Ebola patient.

—Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief

MEDPAGE TODAY–A female healthcare worker who was involved in the care of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for the virus.

The unidentified worker, who was among those monitoring themselves for possible symptoms, developed a fever Friday night and told medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Less than 90 minutes later, the worker was in an isolation unit at the hospital, having driven to the facility, according to Daniel Varga, MD, the chief clinical officer at Texas Health Resources.

A close contact of the worker is also “proactively” in isolation, Varga told reporters at a media briefing in Dallas.

In a subsequent briefing, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, said investigators believed the worker had only the one contact during the period when she may have been infectious.

The above is an example of personal protective gear health-care providers must wear when caring for patients with communicable diseases such as Ebola. The gear includes a face shield and mask, two pairs of gloves, a gown, shoe coverings and leg coverings.

Varga said the patient and her contact are being cared for in a 24-bed intensive care unit that had been cleared for use by possible Ebola patients. He said he could not discuss the other aspects of the care of the patient.

Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins, the county’s chief executive, said blood tests at the state reference laboratory in Austin, using polymerase chain reaction methods, showed the worker has Ebola. A second test conducted by the CDC confirmed the finding, the agency reported Sunday afternoon.

Officials cited confidentiality regulations and the patient’s request in declining to identify her.

Duncan presented at Texas Health Presbyterian twice. The first time, on Sept. 26, he complained of fever and gastrointestinal pain but was sent home with antibiotics.

The healthcare worker now in hospital was involved in caring for him during his second visit Sept. 28, when he was admitted and isolated, Varga said. Duncan died Oct. 8.

At the time of the contact, the worker was wearing the CDC-recommended protective equipment for full barrier and droplet precautions, he said, including gown, gloves, mask, and faceshield.

Varga said officials are “very concerned” that the infection occurred despite those precautions.

But, he added, “we’re still confident that the precautions we have in place will protect our healthcare workers.”

CLICK HERE to read the complete story on MedPageToday.