Second Ebola Infected Nurse Boarded Return Flight to Dallas Day before Symptoms Appeared

( [email protected] ) Oct 15, 2014 03:23 PM EDT
Nurse with Ebola Took Flight between Cleveland and Dallas
(Photo: Frontiers Airlines)

The second nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola took a domestic flight from Cleveland to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex the day before symptoms of the disease appeared. Amber Vinson is a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas and had been monitoring her health after being involved in the care of deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Amber Vinson had traveled to Ohio to visit her mother prior to the news breaking that her co-worker Nina Pham had come down with Ebola. She flew home on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland and arrived at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Monday night. Fox News reports that Vinson had a fever on Tuesday and tested positive for Ebola soon thereafter.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters that the nurse had a temperature of 99.5 degrees before she got on the plane on Monday. 

Because of this symptom and had treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the nurse should not have been on the plane, he said, "She should not have traveled on a commercial airline."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking down the other 132 passengers who were on the flight with Vinson for interviews, although CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden believes the passengers on board to be at "extremely low risk" of contracting the virus. The nurse has also been interviewed in order to help identify others who were possibly exposed.

Frontier Airlines has since removed the aircraft that Vinson had boarded from service, although the plane did return to Cleveland before the airline got word from the CDC that a passenger had been tested positive for Ebola. "Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who may traveled on flight 1143. Customers who may have traveled on either flight should contact CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO," the airline's statement reads.

Vinson will be transported to Emory University Hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, Pham is reportedly in "good" condition after having received a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.