In a press conference today discussing the latest events surrounding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) situation in Dallas, TX, CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden said the 2nd secondary Ebola case is ill but clinically stable.
“When she developed and reported symptoms, she was rapidly isolated, tested, and at about 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning last night, the presumptive test from the Texas state lab is positive. We believe it will be confirmed shortly at the CDC lab,” Frieden said.
Dr. Frieden wouldn’t say what the second patients’s job as “had extensive contact with the patient when they were having substantial amounts of vomiting and diarrhea.”
The patient has been identified as Amber Vinson.
Concerning the airline travel by Vinson, Frieden stated: “The patient traveled to Ohio before it was known that the first health care worker was ill. At that point, that patient, as well as the rest of the health care team were undergoing self-monitoring.
“As the first health care worker did resulting in her rapid isolation. The second health care worker reported no symptoms and no fever. However, because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have travelled on a commercial airline.
“The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for what is called controlled movement. That can include a charter plane, a car, but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement.”
He also discussed the reported issues with PPE use at the Dallas hospital.
“So when we reviewed the records for the first several days of the patient’s stay, before he was diagnosed, we see a lot of variability in the use of personal protective equipment and when our people arrived the same day that the patient was diagnosed, we noted, for example, that some health care workers were putting on three or four players of protective equipment in the belief that this would be more protective. But other things were done such as taping parts of the protective gear in the belief that this would be more protective, the director said.
“We certainly understand the fear and the anxiety that is normal and understand it, and understandable. These are good, dedicated people who worried about themselves and their families. They were trying to protect themselves better. But by putting on more layers of gloves or other protective clothing, it becomes harder to put them on and take them off. The risk of contamination in the process of taking these gloves off gets much higher. That is true for several areas of the body.
“I think more broadly, if I could comment, I know the issue of PPE has gotten a lot of focus. There are several right ways to do it. What we have always emphasized is that health care worker who is are using familiar PPE and familiar ways, they’re more likely to do it right. So we’re looking at this, we’re working with the hospital, and what are the ways to provide the maximum possible support to health care workers and allow them to do their jobs by minimizing their risk of contamination.”
The Ebola infected patient, Amber Vinson, is expected to arrive at Emory University Hospital today for treatment.