Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola
by Carol Thompson
A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the Ebola patient hospitalized there has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test at the state public health laboratory in Austin. Confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement released today.
The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. The preliminary test result was received late Saturday.
“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”
Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures. People who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.
The health care working had cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who came to the United States to visit family and carried the lethal disease. Duncan fell ill shortly after his arrival and succumbed to the virus Oct. 8.
Duncan on Wednesday became the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S. He was re-admitted for treatment after initially being sent home from the hospital despite having a fever of 103 degrees, his family said. Duncan was cremated, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control because the virus can be transmitted in postmortem care settings.
Yesterday New Jersey officials announced they have issued a mandatory quarantine order for NBC crew members who were exposed to a cameraman with Ebola after a voluntary 21-day isolation agreement was violated.
The NBC crew included medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman, who lives in New Jersey. She was working with Ashoka Mukpo, 33, a cameraman who was infected in West Africa. He was flown to the states and is now being treated in Nebraska.
Officials have not released the name of the crew member who violated the voluntary order, nor have they released any other information such as how they learned the person violated the order.
The name of the health care worker has not been released.
Image: Flickr/misguided children