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Hospital evacuated, plane put into lockdown over Ebola scares

Ebola outbreak

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(NaturalNews) Fear of Ebola is quickly spreading across the country on the heels of the first domestic death from the disease and on news that a second American has contracted the virus.

Fear boiled over on October 12 when health officials were dispatched to the Los Angeles International Airport, as well as a hospital in Boston, after reports suggested that two more people had the disease.

As reported by Britain's Daily Mail, the Harvard Vanguard Medical Center in Braintree, Mass., was evacuated late in the afternoon after one man, who said he had recently returned from Liberia, came there complaining of muscle aches and a headache. An hour later, a United Airlines flight that landed in Los Angeles from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City was diverted to a remote terminal after a passenger who had vomited then came down with flu-like symptoms.

'Abundance of caution'

The paper continued:

It was later revealed that the Massachusetts patient does not in fact appear to have the deadly disease, but the man has been kept in isolation.

"Out of an abundance of caution we immediately notified authorities and the patient was securely removed from the building and put into an ambulance now headed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center," said Ben Kruskal, chief of infectious disease at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, in a statement. "The building was closed briefly but has now re-opened."

L.A. Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jamie Moore said at a press conference shortly after the passenger, a woman, was evaluated that there was "no reason to believe" that she had been exposed. Rather, he said, she most likely developed some form of "air illness." He said the plane was nevertheless taken to a remote terminal to avoid stoking wider fears at LAX.

But passengers and crew became concerned because of her symptoms and because she said she had recently visited Africa. However, she visited the nation of South Africa; the Ebola virus is largely confined to West Africa.

"Unfortunately, we can't control social media. And people began to tweet and people began to use Facebook and it created concerns that aren't necessarily realistic concerns," said Moore.

A day earlier, reports said that a Texas nurse working at the hospital where Duncan was being treated had tested positive for the virus, stoking new fears of a widening outbreak.

CDC blaming the victim

In a press conference, Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the young woman had contracted the disease because of a clear breach in safety protocol. He went on to say that others who were treating Duncan -- and who interacted with the nurse -- were going to be monitored because they are now thought to have been exposed.

The nurse, Nina Pham, 26, is an RN from Forth Worth, reports said. She was reported to have been wearing a gown, gloves, mask and shield when she was caring for Duncan during his stay at Texas Health Presbyterian, according to Dr. Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources, the hospital operator.

The CDC director said Pham had been unable to identify the specific protocol breach that led to the infection.

Duncan was a Liberian national. Liberia is one of three countries in Africa most affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak, which so far has killed more than 4,000 people, making the current epidemic the worst ever recorded since the hemorrhagic fever virus was first identified in 1976.

In Texas, health officials are currently monitoring almost 50 people who either had close contact with Duncan or may have in the days leading up to his symptoms (he was reportedly asymptomatic when he landed in Dallas).

Pham reported having a fever on the evening of October 10 as part of a self-monitoring program required by the CDC, Varga told reporters. She is currently in stable condition, in isolation. The hospital has also stopped accepting emergency patients for the time being as well.

Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com






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