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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Dallas Nurse With Ebola|Flew on Domestic Flight

DALLAS (CN) - The second Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan flew from Dallas to Cleveland and back in the days before she reported symptoms and was quarantined, public health officials said Wednesday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said Amber Joy Vinson, 29, "should not have been allowed to travel by plane" because "of the fact she was in an exposed group."

Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Duncan's family indicated that Vinson dealt with his infected bodily fluids, drew blood and inserted catheters during his care.

Vinson flew on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Monday morning.

The next day, she reported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas with a low-grade fever and was isolated. Tests confirmed she had Ebola.

The CDC asked the 132 passengers on Vinson's flight to call 1-800-232-4636 for interviews and follow-up contacts.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Frieden told the passengers that there is an "extremely low likelihood" they were exposed to the deadly disease.

"She did not vomit and she was not bleeding," Frieden said. "So the level of risk of people around her should be extremely low."

Frontier Airlines said it was notified early Wednesday morning of the situation and that the plane she flew on was parked at DFW Airport after landing at 8:16 p.m. Monday.

The plane "received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day" and was "cleaned again in Cleveland last night," according to the CDC and Frontier Airlines.

"Customer exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew," Frontier said in a statement. "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."

Vinson, an alumnus of Kent State University in Ohio and an Akron native, was visiting her family. She has three relatives that are Kent State employees, the school said.

"It's important to note that the patient was not on the Kent State campus," Kent State President Beverly Warren said in a statement.

"She stayed with her family at their home in Summit County and did not step foot on our campus. We want to assure our university community that we are taking this information seriously, taking steps to communicate what we know."

Presbyterian Hospital officials said Wednesday afternoon that they are "actively consulting" with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta to move Vinson there.

Emory successfully treated Ebola patients Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebo after they contracted Ebola in West Africa.

Duncan, of Liberia, died on Oct. 8 while under quarantine at Presbyterian. Nurse Nina Pham was confirmed to have Ebola on Sunday - she is under quarantine at Presbyterian, along with an unidentified person she had contact with while symptomatic.

Her dog, Bentley, is also under isolation at Hensley Field in Grand Prairie.

Follow @davejourno
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