Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dallas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola; 'Breach of Protocol' Led to Infection of Hospital Worker Who Treated Liberian Victim

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dallas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola; 'Breach of Protocol' Led to Infection of Hospital Worker Who Treated Liberian Victim

Article excerpt

DALLAS * A "breach of protocol" at the hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was treated before his death led to the infection of a health care worker with the deadly virus, and other caregivers could potentially be exposed, federal health officials said Sunday.

The hospital worker, a woman who was not identified, wore protective gear while treating the Liberian patient, and she has been unable to pinpoint how the breach might have occurred, said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Duncan was the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with Ebola.

The CDC confirmed Sunday afternoon that the woman had tested positive for Ebola the first known case of the disease being contracted or transmitted in the U.S.

The missteps with the first patient and now the infection of a caregiver raised questions about assurances given by U.S. health officials that any American hospital should be able to treat an Ebola patient and that the disease would be contained.

At a briefing in Atlanta, Frieden said that at some point during Duncan's treatment, "there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection." He added that officials were "deeply concerned" by the infection of the worker.

President Barack Obama asked the CDC to move as quickly as possible in investigating the incident, the White House said.

Dallas police stood guard outside the woman's apartment complex and told people not to go inside. Officers also knocked on doors, made automated phone calls and passed out fliers to notify people within a four-block radius about the situation, although Dallas authorities assured residents the risk was confined to those who have had close contact with the two Ebola patients.

The worker wore a gown, gloves, mask and face shield while she cared for Duncan during his second visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said Dr. Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources, which runs the hospital.

Duncan, who arrived in the U. …

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