Ebola Infects Health Care Worker, Now 2nd US Victim

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A nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas, TX who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan has contracted Ebola according to local health officials.

The unidentified nurse had an “inadvertent breakdown of protocol.”  While the press isn’t giving details on the new patient, members within the Sermo community are saying it was a female nurse, and the infection occurred on his second visit when he entered his final hospitalization.

James Wilson, MD Vice President of Ascel Bio and an infectious disease forecaster wrote, “Finally, at Day 17, we have a 2nd case of Ebola in Dallas.  The individual was a healthcare worker who was reportedly wearing “full” PPE but not identified as “high risk” on CDC’s contact list.  Now we have reports (as expected) that the individual may have breached protocol.”

A surgeon within Sermo wrote, “I can easily imagine how someone could breach the CDC protocol.  They don’t shed the protective gear by themselves, so it well could have been a colleague that caused the breach.”

An internist, referring to preparedness training said, “technique, technique, technique!  Practice, practice, practice and use the Buddy System.”

You can read more about Ebola preparedness training on one of our earlier posts.

Wilson goes on to make a few points about the new patient.

  • Out of all the cases on the contact list, note it was someone who dealt with the original case while he was maximally infectious and expelling infectious fluids.
  • You can wear all the PPE protection in the world and still contract an infection if you fail to observe proper protocol for removal of your gear.
  • We should have seen far more cases if this heavily mutated Zaire strain was in fact, as some have claimed, a highly efficiently transmitted (read:  airborne) agent.  But we have not.  It is impressive that none of the family members have exhibited symptoms yet.  Again, the majority of cases incubate within the 7 – 10 day window of exposure.

The Ebola outbreak is being discussed thoroughly on our Infectious Disease Hub.  If you’re an M.D. or D.O. please join us as we discuss preparedness training and tracking contact lists.

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