Dallas Ebola patient Amber Vinson 'cleared to fly' by CDC after reporting a temperature

Ms Vinson reported a slight fever before boarding the plane

Click to follow
The Independent US

A nurse infected with Ebola in Texas was cleared to fly on a plane despite calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to report a temperature before boarding.

Amber Vinson travelled from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, on a commercial plane on 13 October after telling authorities she had a slight fever.

CDC spokesman David Daigle said Ms Vinson reported a temperature of 99.5 degrees (37.5C), which is below their threshold. She did not have any other symptoms at the time.

Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they are showing symptoms and the health worker was cleared to fly. Health authorities are now racing to find the 132 other passengers on board Frontier Airlines flight, who have been advised to call a CDC hotline.

Ms Vinson, 29, had been treating Ebola victim Thomas Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before flying to Ohio. She was the second person to contract the virus in Texas when preliminary tests came back positive for Ebola on Wednesday.

Nina Pham, the first health worker to contract Ebola in the US after also caring for Mr Duncan, tested positive for the virus on Sunday after what authorities say was a “breach in protocol”.

CDC director Dr Tom Frieden, who cited the breach in protocol, said some of the nurses at the hospital inadvertently violated the CDC guidelines by wearing too much protective gear.

He told reporters: "These are good, dedicated people who worried about themselves and their families and they were trying to protect themselves better, but in fact by putting on more layers of gloves or other protective clothing, it becomes much harder to put them on, it becomes much harder to take them off.

“And the risk of contamination during the process of taking these gloves off gets much higher.”

The revelation comes after nurses at the hospital released a statement claiming they were forced to work without proper protective gear when treating Mr Duncan, with hazardous waste “piled up to the ceiling” in one room.

Ms Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has a specialist unit where two Americans were treated for Ebola and recovered.

Mr Duncan, who travelled to the US from Liberia, originally was sent home when he went to the Dallas hospital's emergency room only to return much sicker two days later. He died of Ebola on 8 October.

More than 70 other health workers involved in Mr Duncan's care are being monitored.

Additional reporting by Associated Press