CDC still mystified by Ebola infections in Dallas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still unsure how two nurses in Dallas contracted Ebola from their patient, according to early findings from the agency’s investigation.

CDC officials interviewed nearly 150 healthcare workers in Dallas while trying to learn how the disease spread from the first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan.

ADVERTISEMENT

The investigation was ordered by President Obama about one month ago after CDC said it did not know how two of Duncan’s nurses became infected while wearing government-approved protective gear. Both nurses had no “reported exposures” in their gear.

The report, which was released Friday, provides little new information about the cases.

It does say that Duncan’s fever climbed to 102.9 degrees while in the hospital during his first visit. He was treated for a possible sinus infection and released.

Additionally, half of Duncan’s initial 48 contacts were healthcare workers who treated him without using the proper protection. Ten of the contacts had been people transported in the same ambulance before it was disinfected.

The details shed some new light on how Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital handled the infection, though the report does not directly cast blame on the hospital.

“The Dallas Ebola cluster highlights many important issues that might be encountered by other jurisdictions in which an Ebola diagnosis is made locally, and for which jurisdictions should plan,” the report concludes.

Among its suggestions, the report says hospitals should “identify patients with Ebola at presentation” and “monitor potentially large numbers of community and health care contacts.”