(Bloomberg) — A second health-care worker in Texas tested positive for Ebola after caring for a patient with the deadly viral illness, adding to concern that infection controls at U.S. hospitals aren’t strong enough.
The worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital reported a fever yesterday and was immediately isolated at the hospital, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement today. The preliminary Ebola test was run late yesterday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and results were received at about midnight.
“Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored,” the department said. The type of monitoring depends on the nature of their interactions and the potential that they were exposed to the virus, according to the statement.
The infected health worker, who wasn’t identified, cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died last week.
“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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. “The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures.”
The new case is the third known instance of Ebola transmission outside of Africa, where the worst-ever outbreak is raging in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. A nurse who treated Duncan, Nina Pham, has contracted Ebola, as has Teresa Romero, a Spanish nursing assistant who cared for two infected missionaries evacuated to Madrid for treatment.
The infections outside Africa have spurred the U.S. and U.K. to begin screening some airline passengers on arrival in the past few days.