A Twenty-nine year-old nurse, Amber Jay Vinson, who was a member of a team of nurses that worked on Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, known as ‘Patient Zero’ in the US media, has been identified as the second person to contract the Ebola virus.
Ms. Vinson works at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and was one of the nurses when ‘Patient Zero’ was diagnosed with the Ebola Virus Disease. She worked on him, according to information reaching the Daily Observer yesterday.
Ms. Vinson’s step-father who did not want to be named, told journalists, “Right now she's doing OK. Her temperature is going down. We don't want to do a lot of talking about it now. The main concern is for her to get better.”
The victim’s grandmother, Martha Schuler, added that family members had made a mercy dash from their home in Ohio to be with her. Mrs. Schuler said: “I spoke to my son and he said that she works in that hospital and that she was exposed. Amber's mother has flown down to be with her.”
Nurse Vinson is a registered nurse and was one of 76 medical staff members who cared for Mr. Duncan in Dallas. Duncan holds the record as the first person to die from the virus on U.S. soil.
Ms. Vinson reported to Texas Presbyterian Hospital with a fever last Tuesday and was isolated within 90 minutes, according to reports.
Information said a preliminary Ebola test was run late on Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and results were received at about midnight. Health officials later interviewed Miss Vinson to identify any contacts or potential exposures so that those people will be monitored.
Further testing was being conducted at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, Daily Observer has learned.
Decontamination of Ms. Vinson’s Dallas apartment in the 6000 block, The Village Bend East began thereafter, as emergency responders surrounded the building and Dallas firefighters in hazmat suits were seen entering the home while it was still dark, according to reporters on the scene. City officials said they had contacted all 330 apartments in the complex where Miss Vinson lives.
Ms. Syad, a spokesman for the 6000 block apartment complex, known as The Village Bend East, told journalists that residents were appreciative that they were being kept informed of what was happening.
“We want them to be aware that if they see people in hazmat suits they know what is going on,” she said. “We are trying to get the message out as fast as possible” Within a four-block radius of Ms. Vinson’s apartment people had been alerted and given a leaflet warning them about the proximity of a victim carrying the Ebola virus.
The information sheet listing facts about Ebola had been distributed to residents and it is an attempt to quell fears among residents about the deadly virus, officials said. Precautions are already in progress to clean all known potential areas of contact to ensure public health.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told a news conference on Wednesday morning: “No one wants to get this more right than our hospital… where this insidious disease has now attacked two of our own.”
CDC director Tom Frieden said on Tuesday that he regretted not bringing in a specialized emergency response team from his agency on the day that Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, 42, was diagnosed.
“I wish we had put a team on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed,” he said.
Dr. Frieden said new guidelines would lower the number of people who have contact with Ebola patients. Health authorities still do not know how 26-year-old nurse Nina Pham was infected but they suspect a breach in the hospital's protocol.
Health officials in Dallas are working around the clock not to be overwhelmed by an insidious disease that seems to be more stubborn to overcome anyone who might become a victim.