2nd HCW Test Positive for Ebola in Dallas

A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for Patient Zero Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola, the state’s health department said Wednesday.

The worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated, health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.

The facility will now begin monitoring all those who had contact with the unidentified worker for signs of potential exposures.

The preliminary Ebola test was done late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and the results came back around midnight.

A second test will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The latest infection — the second-ever transmission of Ebola in the United States — comes a day after a nurses’ union slammed Texas Health Presbyterian, saying the hospital had guidelines that were “constantly changing” and didn’t have protocols on how to deal with the deadly virus.

“The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell,” National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said Tuesday night. “We’re deeply alarmed.”

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas treated Patient Zero Thomas Eric Duncan before his death from Ebola last week. Nurse Nina Pham, who cared for him, is being treated for the virus.

Reports are stating that while treating for Patient Zero, the nurses were told to wrap medical tape around their necks that were left exposed.

It seems this is the second case, but there could be a lot, lot more…

76 other workers were reportedly exposed.

They described a hospital with no clear guidelines in place for handling Ebola patients, where Duncan’s lab specimens were sent through the usual hospital tube system “without being specifically sealed and hand-delivered. The result is that the entire tube system, which all the lab systems are sent, was potentially contaminated,” they said.

“There was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol; there was no system. The nurses were asked to call the infectious disease department” if they had questions, they said.

The nurses said they were essentially left to figure things out for themselves as they dealt with “copious amounts” of body fluids from Duncan while wearing gloves with no wrist tapes, gowns that did not cover their necks, and no surgical booties.

According to the LA Times, the nurses—who are not unionized—made the anonymous statements through the labor organization because they were afraid of losing their jobs.

Frieden told reporters the CDC has created a response team that will travel to hospitals when Ebola cases are confirmed.

“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient, the first patient, was diagnosed,” Frieden said. “That might have prevented this infection. But we will do that from today onward with any case, anywhere in the U.S.”

Duncan’s family and those first exposed are moving into the clear zone of 21 days without symptoms. BUT there have been reports of the 21 days not being long enough and some experts stating it is twice that time.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.