Ambulance workers wearing protective gear load a patient with possible Ebola symptons into the back of an ambulance at the Harvard Vanguard facility in Braintree, Massachusetts. (Photo : REUTERS/KEVIN WILES JR.)
The 132 passengers who flew with Amber Joy Vinson from Cleveland to Dallas onboard a Frontier Airlines flight on October 13 may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been reaching out to all 132 passengers of Flight 1143 that flew with Vinson as part of the agency's "extra margins of safety," reports CNN.
Frontier has reportedly grounded the six crew members of the same flight for 21 days as an act of precaution, CNN added.
The 21 days is the maximum time within which a person, who has been exposed to Ebola, may contract the virus and show symptoms, details CDC, on its website.
Amber Joy Vinson is the second nurse who was tested positive for Ebola contraction. She, along with Nina Pham, the first health worker tested positive for the virus, cared for Thomas Eric Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Duncan, the Liberian national, is the first confirmed case of Ebola in the U.S. He flew to Dallas from Liberia on September 20. He died on October 8.
Three days after Duncan's death, Vinson flew to Cleveland from Dallas via Frontier Airlines Flight 1142. She went back to Dallas on October 13 via Flight 1143, only this time, she was already running a 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit fever, details The New York Times.
In an official statement posted by CDC, Frontier Airlines said: "Customer (Vinson) exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flgith 1143, according to the crew. Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is (now) working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who (was) on flight 1143."
Possible Contamination in Ohio?
Dr. Marguerite Erme, the medical director in Summit County, Ohio, where Vinson spent her time before returning to Dallas, thinks that the CDC may just be being too cautious.
"What the CDC discovered, through interviews, is that Vinson may not have been feeling well earlier than it was initially thought (October 13). It was nothing you could point your finger at and say, 'Ah this is a particular disease,'" told Dr. Erme to CNN.
"The new information is saying that we need to go back now to the flight that she took on October 10 and include in our investigation of contacts," confirms Dr. Chris Baden of CDC to Ohio reporters on October 16.
A federal official with direct knowledge of the Vinson case told CNN that while she was in Cleveland, Vinson was already feeling fatigue, muscle aches and malaise.
But she was not suffering from diarrhea or vomiting while in Cleveland or even during the flight back to Dallas, the federal official added.
Summit Country's assistant health commissioner Donna Skoda confirmed also to CNN that Amber Joy Vinson has had 12 confirmed contacts while she was in Ohio.
"All these people are now under quarantine. They include four people who worked at a bridal store where the 29-year-old Vinson went to as part of her preparations for her upcoming wedding," says Skoda.
Vinson was taken on October 15 to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital where her uncle and family spokesman Lawrence Vinson described her condition as "stable," reports CNN.
Nina Pham, on the other hand is to be transferred to the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in an official statement that: "Transferring Nina Pham is the right decision because many of the medical professionals who would normally staff the intensive care unit are sidelined for continuous monitoring."
A total of 76 workers of the Dallas hospital, who cared for Duncan, are under the 21-day monitoring period for possible Ebola infection, reports CNN.