Ebola in US: Amber Joy Vinson named as second nurse infected at Texas hospital

The 29-year-old was planning her wedding until she fell ill

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The Independent US

The second nurse to be infected with Ebola by treating a patient who died in the US has been named as Amber Joy Vinson.

Authorities are racing to track down 132 passengers on a plane she took from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas in Texas on Monday.

Officials said Ms Vinson had been visiting her mother since Friday to prepare for her wedding and was unaware she had contracted the disease.

The 29-year-old will be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta as officials continue tracing anyone who may have had contact with her.

Crew members on the plane said she showed no symptoms of Ebola during the flight but the next morning she developed a high temperature, and on Tuesday night tested positive for the virus.

The incident raised questions over why she was allowed to board the plane when she was known to have treated an infectious patient.

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Miss Vinson and another nurse caught Ebola from a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital

Authorities have not said how Miss Vinson, who reportedly lived alone in Dallas and had no pets, will be treated.

Toinette Parrilla, director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, told a press conference: “She flew into Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. She came into visit her mother and her mother’s fiancée.”

Ms Parilla emphasised that no Ebola cases had been identified in the city but its emergency command centre had been activated for “situation awareness” and quarantines would be put in place if necessary.

Ms Vinson cared for Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, in the days before his death.

According to medical records shown to The Associated Press by Mr Duncan's family, she inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan's body fluids at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Ebola is transmitted through contact with the blood, urine, vomit, sweat or other bodily fluids from infected people and animals and the case is likely to draw further criticism to her employers over infection control procedures.

“We are looking at every element of our personal protection equipment and infection control in the hospital,” said Dr Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, which runs the hospital.

Nina Pham, another nurse who treated Mr Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, tested positive for the virus on Sunday after a “breach in protocol”.

Infected Ebola patients are not considered to be contagious until they show symptoms such as vomiting or bleeding that increase the risk of transmission.

Authorities have said the risk of infection for passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth is low but are alerting them “because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning.”

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Nina Pham, another nurse working with Miss Vinson, was also infected with Ebola

Tom Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said no one else involved in Mr Duncan's care will be allowed to travel “other than in a controlled environment.”

President Barack Obama cancelled a campaign trip planned on Wednesday to address the outbreak.

News of the second nurse's diagnosis followed criticism of the hospital's initial handling of the disease.

On Tuesday, the American association National Nurses United said: “The nurses strongly feel unsupported, unprepared, lied to, and deserted to handle the situation on their own.”

The hospital lacked protocols to deal with an Ebola patient, offered no advance training and provided them with insufficient gear that left sections of skin exposed, a statement claimed.

Representatives from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said it was doing everything it can to contain the virus and did not have “a systematic institutional problem”.

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in the worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation, which warned that there could be up to 10,000 new cases diagnosed in West Africa by December if efforts to stop it are not stepped up.

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