Officials at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering adding the names of health care workers being monitored for the Ebola virus to the government’s no-fly list.
The decision went under review after Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson was cleared to fly on a commercial airliner earlier this week. Vinson was one of the health workers who treated Ebola victim Thomas Edward Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Early Wednesday morning officials in Texas announced that Vinson, 29, has tested positive for the virus. She is the second nurse, behind Nina Pham, to contract the disease after treating Duncan.
The CDC is currently monitoring more than 70 workers who were in direct or close contact to Duncan. The patient was admitted to the hospital for nearly two weeks before passing away on October 8.
An official for the CDC on Monday cleared Amber Vinson to fly from Cleveland to Dallas aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, even though she reported a slight fever, one of the symptoms of Ebola. While her fever of 99.5 degrees was below the threshold of 100.4 degrees, it still should have raised concerns. The Ebola virus has an incubation period of two to 21 days, and does not spread unless the person comes in direct contact with other individuals, and only then if they are showing outward symptoms of the disease.
Following her claims, Federal officials are now claiming that she “lied” about her symptoms.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden has since admitted that Vinson should never have been allowed to board the plane.
Frieden has said that from this point on no health worker treating Ebola patients will be able to travel, “other than in a controlled environment.” Travel will likely be approved only by chartered plane or designated vehicle.
In the meantime, the CDC is now tracking down all of Vinson’s fellow passengers from the Frontier Airlines flight. Those individuals will need to be placed on the agencies growing list of people to observe and possibly isolate.
On Thursday morning Frontier Airlines announced that the crew of Flight 1143 had been placed on paid leave for 21 days. The CDC cleared the crew to fly but the company chose to exercise an abundance of caution.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in the meantime has offered isolated rooms to any workers being monitored for the Ebola virus.
The recent spread of the disease to Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson led President Obama on Wednesday to issue a statement. “We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done.”
Do you think Ebola health workers should be placed on a no-fly list for everyones safety?