Hat/Tip to Breitbart.
DALLAS (AP) — A second health care worker at a Dallas hospital who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. has tested positive for the disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday.
The worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was monitoring herself for symptoms of Ebola, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. The unidentified woman reported a fever Tuesday. She was in isolation within 90 minutes, Jenkins said.
Health officials said the worker was among those who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan, who was diagnosed with Ebola after coming to the U.S. from Liberia. Duncan died Oct. 8.
The department said a preliminary Ebola test was conducted late Tuesday at a state public health laboratory in Austin, Texas, and came back positive during the night. Confirmatory testing was being conducted at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Officials said the health care worker was interviewed to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures. It said others who had interactions with the worker or possible exposure to the virus will be monitored.
It’s not clear how the second health care worker contracted the virus, and authorities declined to say what position she holds at the hospital or the type of care she provided.
Officials have said they don’t know how the first health worker, a nurse, became infected. But the second case pointed to lapses beyond how one individual may have donned and removed personal protective garb.
The CDC is assisting the hospital with this second infected person.
“An additional health care worker testing positive for Ebola is a serious concern, and the CDC has already taken active steps to minimize the risk to health care workers and the patient,” the CDC said in a statement.
“What happened there (in Dallas), regardless of the reason, is not acceptable. It shouldn’t have happened,” Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of NIH, said on MSNBC on Wednesday.
Fauci said he envisioned the CDC taking “a much more involved role” in establishing the proper training protocols for Ebola cases.
The CDC said its experts had taken part in interviewing the second health care worker to identify any contacts or potential exposures in the community.
But is the CDC’s help a case of ‘too little, too late’?
Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, has acknowledged that the government wasn’t aggressive enough in managing Ebola and containing the virus as it spread from an infected patient to a nurse at a Dallas hospital.
“We could’ve sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on with the hospital from day one about exactly how this should be managed,” he said Tuesday.
Frieden outlined new steps this week designed to stop the spread of the disease, including the creation of an Ebola response team, increased training for health care workers nationwide and changes at the Texas hospital to minimize the risk of more infections.
“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient — the first patient — was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection,” Frieden said.
The stark admission came as the World Health Organization projected the pace of infections accelerating in West Africa to as many as 10,000 new cases a week within two months.
Major mistakes were made treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient from Liberia that was ‘patient zero’.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, appearing Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show, sidestepped questions about whether she had complete confidence in the Texas hospital where the health care workers have been diagnosed with Ebola or whether they should be transferred to one of four specialized hospitals. “We will keep all options and considerations right now,” she said.
In a conference call late Tuesday, the nation’s largest nurses’ union described how the patient, Duncan, was left in an open area of the emergency room for hours. National Nurses United, citing unidentified nurses, said staff treated Duncan for days without the correct protective gear, that hazardous waste was allowed to pile up to the ceiling and safety protocols constantly changed.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of Nurses United, refused to say how many nurses made the statement about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but insisted they were in a position to know what happened.
A total of 76 people at the hospital might have been exposed to Duncan, and all are being monitored for fever and other symptoms daily, Frieden said. Nurse Nina Pham contracted the virus while caring for Duncan. Health officials are monitoring 48 others who had some contact with Duncan before he was admitted the hospital where he died.
Maybe the CDC should take a page from Firestone. Yes, Firestone – the tire company. As we covered here at CH2.0, Firestone’s rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia got hit by Ebola, and when no hospitals around them were capable of treating the virus, they jumped in the deep end and set up their own Ebola isolation building.
Firestone detected its first Ebola case on March 30, when an employee’s wife arrived from northern Liberia. She’d been caring for a disease-stricken woman and was herself diagnosed with the disease. Since then Firestone has done a remarkable job of keeping the virus at bay. It built its own treatment center and set up a comprehensive response that’s managed to quickly stop transmission. Dr. Brendan Flannery, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s team in Liberia, has hailed Firestone’s efforts as resourceful, innovative and effective.
But the Firestone Ebola facility isn’t just treating their own people who are infected, they are also taking in patients from across the region.
Currently the only Ebola cases on the sprawling, 185-square-mile plantation are in patients who come from neighboring towns.
When the Ebola case was diagnosed, “we went in to crisis mode,” recalls Ed Garcia, the managing director of Firestone Liberia. He redirected his entire management structure toward Ebola.
It didn’t take them long to figure out that they were on their own, and rather than looking to a government for help, they decided to meet the crisis head on, and handle it themselves.
Garcia’s team first tried to find a hospital in the capital to care for the woman. “Unfortunately, at that time, there was no facility that could accommodate her,” he says. “So we quickly realized that we had to handle the situation ourselves.”
The case was detected on a Sunday. Garcia and a medical team from the company hospital spent Monday setting up an Ebola ward. Tuesday the woman was placed in isolation.
“None of us had any Ebola experience,” he says. They scoured the Internet for information about how to treat Ebola. They cleared out a building on the hospital grounds and set up an isolation ward. They grabbed a bunch of hazmat suits for dealing with chemical spills at the rubber factory and gave them to the hospital staff. The suits worked just as well for Ebola cases.
Firestone immediately quarantined the woman’s family. Like so many Ebola patients, she died soon after being admitted to the ward. But no one else at Firestone got infected: not her family and not the workers who transported, treated and cared for her.
Read the full story of the second health care worker stricken with Ebola, here.