Texas healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola; first case on American soil

The infected woman was among caregivers for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Wednesday at a Texas hospital.

By: Press Trust of India | Houston | Updated: October 13, 2014 1:07 pm
A hazmat worker looks up while finishing up cleaning outside an apartment building of a hospital worker, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. The Texas health care worker, who was in full protective gear when they provided hospital care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died, has tested positive for the virus and is in stable condition, health officials said. (Source: AP) A hazmat worker looks up while finishing up cleaning outside an apartment building of a hospital worker, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. The Texas health care worker, who was in full protective gear when they provided hospital care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died, has tested positive for the virus and is in stable condition, health officials said. (Source: AP)

A US health care worker has been diagnosed with Ebola after treating a patient who died of the deadly disease last week, sending officials scrambling to find the “breach in protocol” that resulted in her infection – the first case contracted on American soil. The infected woman was among caregivers for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Wednesday at a Texas hospital.

A state test finding that she had Ebola was confirmed today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it the first known case transmitted in the US. CDC chief Thomas Frieden said his agency will investigate how a worker in full protective gear contracted the virus. “At some point there was a breach in protocol,” Frieden said.

“That breach in protocol resulted in this infection. We are evaluating other potential health care worker exposures because if this individual was exposed, which they were, it is possible that other individuals were exposed,” he said. The worker was in close contact with Duncan and initial testing shows that the level of virus in her system is low. The CDC will conduct a secondary test to confirm the results from a lab in Austin that showed Ebola infection, he said.

A hazmat worker cleans outside the apartment building of a hospital worker, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. (Source: AP) A hazmat worker cleans outside the apartment building of a hospital worker, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. (Source: AP)

“Unfortunately it is possible in the coming days that we will see additional cases of Ebola,” he said. At least 19 hospital staffers who dealt with Duncan during his two hospital visits were monitoring themselves for signs of Ebola. The White House said President Barack Obama discussed the news with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, directing that the CDC “investigation into the apparent breach in infection-control protocols at the Dallas hospital move as expeditiously as possible”.

The Ebola epidemic has killed some 4,033 people in West Africa, the vast majority of them in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In the US, tougher scrutiny for Ebola began on Saturday at New York’s JFK Airport, where federal Homeland Security officials began screening travellers from affected nations for Ebola symptoms.

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  1. A
    Arun
    Oct 13, 2014 at 8:00 am
    Reminds me of the game Plague Inc.
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    1. S
      schmildnkpfr
      Oct 13, 2014 at 11:33 am
      Oh, who would have ever imagined, in the "greatest healthcare system of all time", ah, . . . somebody just came down with E B O L A.
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      1. G
        Gutta
        Oct 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm
        The Photo Belongs to the famous south indian film actor Prakash Raj, What does it mean hear in the news of EBOLA ??
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        1. M
          Monk
          Oct 13, 2014 at 6:18 am
          Important for WHO to put all countries on alert and ensure airport screenings. India should especially be proactive in this case. This bug can be devastating in countries with high concentration of potion (with low levels of hygiene) like India!
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          1. U
            Utopian
            Oct 14, 2014 at 1:33 am
            This seems to be slowly going out of control. There should be unprecedented measures to take care of this spreading.
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