The infection of a Dallas nurse who treated the nation’s first Ebola case “substantially” changes the way public health officials address infection control, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsaid on Monday.
Frieden, who said a detailed investigation is under way to determine how the nurse involved in the late Thomas Eric Duncan‘s care was infected, was vague about exactly what needs to change. But he did say the CDC will “double down” on training to hospitals that may not be as prepared for Ebola cases as previously believed.
The CDC Sunday announced it had confirmed the nurse contracted Ebola, the first transmission of the deadly disease in the United States. CDC leaders described the case as “deeply concerning,” but repeated there is little risk of a widespread outbreak.
The graduate of Texas Christian University’s nursing school was monitoring her own temperature and went to the hospital Friday night as soon as she found out she was running a low fever. She’s now in isolation and in stable condition.
By Monday evening, she had received a transfusion of plasma from Kent Brantly, a Texas physician who survived the virus, her pastor and the nonprofit medical mission group Samaritan’s Purse told the Associated Press.
Frieden, who was criticized for a comment Sunday that a “breach in protocol” led to the nurse’s contracting of the disease, said he didn’t mean to blame anyone. He said it was possible for workers to contaminate themselves in taking off protective clothing.
“I feel awful that a health care worker became infected trying to help an Ebola patient survive,” said Frieden.
Frieden also provided statistics on President Barack Obama‘s new airport screening policy, which took effect Saturday at John F. Kennedy International. Of 91 passengers arriving from West Africa, five were referred for additional evaluation and none was determined to be at risk for Ebola. Screening will begin at four additional airports this weekend.