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More Dallas hospital workers could have Ebola: CDC chief continues to blame 'breach in protocol,' insists 'any hospital' can handle virus

Ebola transmission

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(NaturalNews) The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that anyone who cared for Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital could be at risk of contracting the disease.

The admission by Dr. Tom Frieden following news that one of Duncan's caregivers, 26-year-old RN Nina Pham, has become infected despite wearing protective clothing and gear, was alarming to many.

"We are deeply concerned about this new development," Frieden said October 12, the day he announced that Pham had tested positive for the virus. She has become the first victim of a person-to-person transmission of the disease in the U.S.

"We now consider all of the healthcare workers who cared for the index patient potentially to have been exposed, and we'll be rostering those individuals and determining which require active follow-up in addition to their self-monitoring," Frieden told CBS's Face the Nation.

Blaming the nurse for her disease

"We know from many years of experience that it's possible to care for patients with Ebola safely without risk to healthcare workers," Frieden continued. "But we also know that... even a single breach can result in contamination.

"And one of the areas that we look at closely are things like how you take off the gear that might be infected or contaminated. Another that we'll be looking at closely in -- in the investigation is the -- the interventions that were done to try desperately to keep the index patient alive," he continued. "This included dialysis and intubation. These are two procedures which can result in the spread of infectious material."

Frieden then blamed Pham for contracting the disease.

"I think the fact that we don't know of a breach in protocol is concerning because, clearly, there was a breach in protocol. We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients," Frieden said.

The CDC chief says that the agency is currently taking additional measures. For one, Friedan says the government is ensuring "that the individual [Pham] is cared for safely and effectively." Also, he said the CDC is working to identify all the persons whom she may have come into contact with, and in doing so further "determining which require active follow-up in addition to their self-monitoring." And finally, he said that the CDC would be conducting "a full investigation of what happens before health workers go in" to an treat Ebola patient, "and what happens in... taking off their protective equipment, because infections only occur when there's a breach in protocol."

The following day, Frieden was back in the news, saying that all hospitals around the country had better start "thinking Ebola," because, apparently, he now believes that it could show up virtually anywhere.

"We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable," he said.

'We need to consider the possibility that more are going to get sick'

The CDC is working feverishly to interview all of the Dallas hospital staff who might have been exposed to Duncan, who died at the hospital on October 8.

Before Pham became ill with the virus, all healthcare workers involved in caring for Duncan while he was isolated were told to check themselves for fever and other signs of the illness, but they were not monitored by federal or state health authorities. Pham self-reported her fever, The Associated Press said.

"We need to consider the possibility that there could be additional cases, particularly among the healthcare workers who cared for the index patient [Duncan] when he was so ill," Frieden said.

Those stricken with Ebola are not contagious until they begin experiencing symptoms, according to Frieden, an assertion that is increasingly being called into question by healthcare providers. During the October 14 edition of Rush Limbaugh's radio program, a man who identified himself as a doctor from Washington State claimed that there has been no substantial research to determine whether Frieden's statement is actually true. The doctor said it is possible that Ebola victims can become contagious before they actually exhibit symptoms.

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







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