At 3:35 Wednesday morning, October 15, Amber Vinson was confirmed as the third Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas. Amber Vinson, a 29-year-old registered nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital originally from Akron, Ohio, has tested positive for Ebola. Vinson had been assigned to Thomas Eric Duncan’s case, caring for him during the time he was most contagious, but before he had been diagnosed. On Monday, October 13, at 6:31 p.m., just one day before she started showing Ebola symptoms, Vinson flew from Cleveland, Ohio to DFW Airport in Texas on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, reported CBS News. Her temperature registered at 99.5 degrees, well below the fever threshold, when she boarded that flight.
According to ABC News 8 at 4, on October 10, Amber left Dallas traveling to Akron to plan her wedding and visit her mother. She left three days before fellow nurse, Nina Pham, was diagnosed and returned to Dallas at approximately 8:20 p.m. Monday, October 13. Vinson was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian by Tuesday and diagnosed with Ebola. All 132 passengers on her return flight are being contacted by officials from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for interviews, to answer any questions or concerns they may have, and determine if anyone is a potential risk for the virus. Due to Vinson’s lack of symptoms, the CDC said that there is an “extremely low likelihood that anybody on that plane would have been exposed.” ABC News at 6 on Wednesday reported that since she had no symptoms, the CDC gave Vinson permission to fly when she consulted them prior to her trip home.
Nurse Amber Vinson was on the team who cared for Eric Duncan during the time he was most contagious, so should not have made the flight to Cleveland, under CDC guidelines. As a result, the CDC said they will be restricting the travel of anyone who was one of the 75-member health care team who treated Duncan to make sure this does not happen, again. Medical experts suggest that Vinson and Pham did not wear protective gear during the two days before Duncan had been diagnosed with the virus.
Vinson, in stable condition, departed from Dallas Love Field in a small passenger jet at 5:02 p.m. Wednesday to be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Arriving at the airport by ambulance and taken directly across the runway to the plane, she walked up the steps and into the plane, unaided. Vinson was accompanied on her flight to Emory by one person. Emory is a bio-containment hospital where she will get supportive care including fluids, having her potassium levels and her blood pressure stabilized. It is uncertain whether Amber will receive an experimental drug or a blood transfusion from Nancy Writebol, the 59-year-old aid worker who survived Ebola after receiving a blood transfusion from Kent Brantly in August 2014. Both Writebol and Brantly were treated at, cured, and released from Emory.
At the time of this post, ABC News at 5 p.m. reported that Nina Pham was in good condition and seems to be improving. Pham has had contact with only one other person outside the medical professionals; Vinson, only three.