Over the weekend the world learned of the first case of a person contracting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States in nurse, Nina Pham. At the time, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr. Thomas Frieden said the transmission was due to a “breach of protocol”.

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

However, in a statement Monday, Frieden clarified his previous statement saying, “I spoke about a “breach in protocol” and that’s what we speak about in public health when we’re talking about what needs to happen and our focus is to say, would this protocol have prevented the infection? And we believe it would have.

But, some interpreted that as finding fault with the hospital or the health care worker. And, I’m sorry if that was the impression given. That was certainly not my intention. People on the front lines are really protecting all of us. People on the front lines are fighting Ebola.

The enemy here is a virus. Ebola. It’s not a person. It’s not a country. It’s not a place. It’s not a hospital. It’s a virus. It’s a virus that’s tough to fight. But together, I’m confident that we will stop it. What we need to do is all take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines.

I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient. She was there trying to help the first patient survive and now she has become infected. All of us have to work together to do whatever is possible to reduce the risk that any other health care worker becomes infected.