CDC: It's Possible Ebola Nurse Was Sick on 1st Flight

CDC tracking down those on Dallas to Cleveland flight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2014 3:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2014 7:36 AM CDT
Obama: We Might Need Ebola Czar
President Obama speaks to the media about the government’s Ebola response last night.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Officials say Dallas nurse Amber Vinson may have shown Ebola symptoms around four days earlier than initially thought. A CDC rep says "we have started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday. ... We can't rule out (that) she might have had the start of her illness on Friday," which is when she took Flight 1142 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Cleveland. The CDC is now trying to trace that flight's passengers, and the airline is notifying people who were on five subsequent flights involving the plane she returned home on. A source tells CNN Vinson experienced fatigue and muscle aches while in Ohio; 12 of her confirmed contacts there are under quarantine, including two bridal store employees. In other developments:

  • The people in charge of the American response to Ebola have been doing an "outstanding job," President Obama told reporters last night, but it might "make sense" to have an Ebola czar in charge of the effort, so "that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we're crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's going forward." He stressed that he understands people are scared but that the "risks involved remain extremely low for ordinary folks." He added that he has no "philosophical objection" to a ban on travel to the US from West Africa, which some lawmakers are demanding, but experts have told him that "a flat-out travel ban is not the way to go" and the current screening methods are effective, reports Reuters.
  • At least six schools in Ohio and Texas have been closed because students or teachers had been on the same flights as Vinson, a move the chief of the infectious diseases division at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia tells the New York Times is "panic" that reminds him of the early days of AIDS. "This isn't flu or smallpox. It's not spread by droplet transmission," he says. "As long as nobody kissed the person on the plane, they're safe."
  • A Yale student suspected of having Ebola has tested negative for the disease, reports the Yale Daily News. The CDC will conduct a second test and the student, who had been researching the disease in Liberia, will remain in quarantine for 21 days.
(More Ebola stories.)

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