Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

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edited October 2014 in The Social Lounge
Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola
A Texas health worker has contracted Ebola after treating a Liberian who died of the disease at a Dallas hospital last week, raising concern about how U.S. medical guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the disease were breached.

The infected worker, identified as a woman but not named by authorities as they announced the case on Sunday, is believed to be the first person to contract the disease in the United States.

Health officials said the worker at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital had been wearing protective gear during treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan was a Liberian who died on Wednesday after being exposed to Ebola in his home country and developing the disease while visiting the United States.

The outbreak in West Africa, the worst outbreak on record of Ebola, has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The new case in Texas indicated a professional lapse that may have caused other health workers at the hospital to also be infected, said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"We don't know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original patient, in Dallas, but at some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told a news conference.

"We are evaluating other potential healthcare 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.