Reports: CDC approved Ebola-infected nurse's air travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved air travel by the second Dallas nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola — despite her reporting to the agency that she had a low-grade fever, according to a pair of local news reports Wednesday night.

Amber Vinson, the 29-year-old who contracted the disease after treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, called the CDC several times to report that she had a fever of 99.5 degrees, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reported Wednesday. 

But Vinson was reportedly allowed to fly to Cleveland because her temperature was not above 100.3 degrees — the temperature at which the CDC considers someone a high risk. Vinson arrived to Atlanta's Emory Hospital for specialized treatment Wednesday evening.


CDC officials confirmed to the Dallas Fort-Worth Fox affiliate they told Vinson it was OK to fly, even with a low-grade fever, according to a tweet.

The agency said Wednesday that the nurse "should not have traveled on a commercial airline" and that it was taking steps to reach out to all passengers on the flight from Cleveland to Dallas. Frontier Airlines has said it removed the plane from service following CDC notification on Wednesday, although the plane was apparently used for five additional flights after carrying Vinson.

“The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement," Director Tom Frieden said Wednesday. "That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement.”

He added that the 75 remaining healthcare workers who helped treat Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital would be prohibited from commercial flights.

Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president retained confidence in Frieden despite a series of missteps in the handling of the Dallas case.

"As we are dealing with a public health situation in this country, we continue to be guided by the advice of medical experts and scientists who have knowledge in this field and can use that knowledge to protect the American people," Earnest said.