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Texas Ebola Patient's Nurse Now Infected with Virus, CDC Blames Breach of Protocol

( [email protected] ) Oct 13, 2014 12:47 PM EDT
U.S. health officials are reporting that the first transmitted case of Ebola has now been confirmed, and the blame lies with a breach of protocol. The Texas nurse, whose name has not been released, contracted the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first reported case of Ebola on U.S. soil.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Photo: Reuters

U.S. health officials are reporting that the first transmitted case of Ebola has now been confirmed, and the blame lies with a breach of protocol.

The Texas nurse, whose name has not been released, contracted the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first reported case of Ebola on U.S. soil.

While the Texas hospital where Duncan was treated claimed that it would "continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat," this nurse still contracted the virus.

Texas officials haven't elaborated on what that breach of protocol was that allowed the nurse to become infected, but it's said that every precaution was taken by her, including the use of a mask, gloves, a gown, and face shield.

But the Center for Disease Control's disease detectives are reporting that there are inconsistencies with the process that this nurse used to apply and remove her protective gear. Officials think the infection could also have been spread when Duncan received kidney dialysis or respiratory intubation, which were both called "a desperate measure to try to save his life" by CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"When you have potentially soiled or contaminated gloves or masks or other things," Frieden stated at a Monday morning press conference, "to remove those without any risk of any contaminated material ... touching you and being then on your clothes or face or skin ... is not easy to do right."

Only four hospitals in the country have the proper training programs in place to deal with Ebola, and the Dallas hospital where Duncan was treated was not one of them.

According to a poll done by National Nurses United, 76% of nurses say that their hospitals haven't communicated any policy about dealing with Ebola. "The time to act is long overdue," said NNU's executive director, RoseAnn Demoro.