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CDC Blames 'Protocol Breach' in Dallas Ebola Case

Meanwhile, nurse praised as 'heroic' as officials quarantine 'close contact'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 9:29 AM CDT
CDC Blames 'Protocol Breach' in Dallas Ebola Case
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Daniel Varga answers questions about a health care worker who cared for Thomas Duncan and has contracted Ebola.   (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

The Texas health care worker who has become what is believed to be the first case of Ebola contracted on American soil wore full protective garb when treating Thomas Duncan, officials tell the AP. She is a female nurse, adds CNN, citing inside sources, though her identity is being withheld as her family has "requested total privacy." While it's not entirely clear how she contracted the virus, CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden today blamed a breakdown in protocol: "I think the fact that we don't know of a breach in protocol is concerning, because clearly there was a breach in protocol." Frieden said. "We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients ... We'll conduct a full investigation ... because infections only occur when there's a breach in protocol." Frieden says officials will particularly scrutinize how protective garb is taken off.

Meanwhile, one person considered a "close contact" of the nurse has been quarantined, a move officials are calling proactive. There is also believed to be a pet living in her apartment; officials have a plan to care for the pet, notes the AP. Dallas Fire Department's hazmat unit has decontaminated any public areas of her apartment complex, adds CNN, and neighbors are being alerted. "We have knocked on every door on that block," says the mayor. A top Dallas County official praised her a "heroic" person who "was proud to provide care to Mr. Duncan." The AP offers this primer on Ebola and how it spreads. (More Ebola stories.)

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