News broke earlier today that an unidentified nurse that treated now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had tested positive for the disease. Her illness was identified via a self-monitoring program and was isolated immediately after she reported a low-grade fever.
CDC Director Thomas Friedan said he was "deeply concerned" about this new infection, and said that there must have been a breach in safety protocol for ebola to have spread. It's possible that the nurse was infected by improperly removing safety equipment.
From The Daily Signal:
“We’re deeply concerned about this new development with a preliminary positive [test for Ebola],” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. “The fact that we don’t know about a breach in protocol is concerning because, clearly, there was a breach in protocol.”
Since Duncan is believed to already have been infected when he arrived Sept. 20 in the U.S., confirmation of the preliminary diagnosis would make this the first known case of Ebola being contracted or transmitted here.
The hospital worker, who reported a fever Friday night, is listed in stable condition. The worker provided care for Duncan “on multiple occasions after his diagnosis,” wearing protective gear that included a gown, gloves, mask and shield.
While ebola is certainly a scary illness, I wouldn't go full-on panic just yet. The woman's symptoms were caught incredibly early, and she was already a member of a high-risk group for the illness. Moreover, it's important to note that this nurse is the first transmission of the virus in the U.S., and the dozens of healthcare providers that treated patients in Atlanta and Nebraska have so far remained entirely symptom-free. Accidents do happen, and I pray that this woman has a full recovery.