A second health care worker in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola after caring for a patient who had the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today (Oct. 15).
The health care worker, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was isolated after developing a fever, the CDC said, and a preliminary test was positive for Ebola. The CDC will now perform another test to confirm the result.
This infected person was one of 76 health care workers who were being monitored for symptoms of Ebola after they treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a man from Liberia who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Another health care worker in Dallas, Nina Pham, tested positive for the disease on Sunday.
"An additional health care worker testing positive for Ebola is a serious concern, and the CDC has already taken active steps to minimize the risk to health care workers and the patient," the CDC said in a statement.
Yesterday, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden announced a series of steps the agency is taking to improve hospital safety in treating Ebola patients, including enhanced training of hospital staff and the appointment of a site manager to oversee all aspects of infection control at the Dallas hospital. [Protective Gear For Ebola Patient Care (Infographic)]
The agency has also established an Ebola response team that can be on the ground within hours of being alerted to a new Ebola case at another U.S. hospital, should that occur.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood or secretions, of an infected individual, or by contact with contaminated objects, such as needles and syringes, according to the CDC. People with Ebola are contagious only after they start showing symptoms.
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Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.