HOUSTON, Texas — The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday that we need to “rethink” Ebola, and how to stop the spreading of the deadly virus.
CDC Director Tom Frieden reportedly said, “We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control because even a single infection is unacceptable. It doesn’t change the fact that we know how Ebola spreads — It does change, substantially, how we approach it.”
He added that staff at U.S. hospitals should keep Ebola in mind when a patient with a fever has been to West Africa recently.
Frieden’s comments come on the heels of the second Ebola diagnosis in the United States. A Dallas-based nurse was diagnosed with the virus over the weekend; she was a health care worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who brought Ebola into the U.S., was being treated. She was trying to treat Duncan when she contracted Ebola.
Following the nurse’s diagnosis, Frieden claimed that she contracted the virus as a result of a “breach in protocol.” The Wall Street Journal reported that Frieden admitted on Monday that it is “possible that workers will contaminate themselves” when taking off protective clothing used to treat Ebola patients.
He made sure point out, however, that when he said a “breach of protocol” he was not attempting to blame Texas Presbyterian or the nurse herself for the most recent diagnosis. “I’m sorry if that was the impression given,” Frieden reportedly said.
He added, “I feel awful that a health-care worker became infected trying to help an Ebola patient survive.”
Despite the Ebola outbreak in Dallas, the federal government still refuses to put a travel ban from West African countries in place.
For the foreseeable future, passengers will continue to board planes from Ebola-afflicted nations, heading for the United States. Individuals with Ebola, who are in the early stages of the virus and not yet showing signs, may be able to board such planes successfully and then be treated for the illness in the U.S. once the symptoms begin to show.
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