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Nurse is first to contract Ebola in U.S.
01:39 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A "close contact" of the nurse is being monitored, says CDC

The worker helped care for an Ebola patient multiple times, CDC director says

He says there was a breach in protocol and his agency is investigating

Nurse was wearing protective gear when she helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan

CNN  — 

The deadly Ebola virus has been contracted by someone inside the United States for the first time.

A nurse who had worn protective gear during her “extensive contact” at a Dallas hospital with an Ebola patient who died tested positive during a preliminary blood test, officials said Sunday.

The woman had on a gown, gloves, mask and a shield during her multiple visits with Thomas Eric Duncan, but there was a breach in protocol, health officials said.

The patient is a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, an official who is familiar with the case told CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta conducted testing on the blood sample, and confirmed the results Sunday, marking the first known transmission of Ebola in the United States and the second diagnosis in the country.

She was involved in Duncan’s care after he was placed in isolation – his second trip to the hospital after coming to the United States from Liberia – said Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC.

The nurse is in stable condition, Texas Health Resources chief clinical officer Dan Varga said. Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday.

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The nurse had “extensive contact” on “multiple occasions” with Duncan, Frieden said.

“At some point, there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” he said at a news conference Sunday. “The (Ebola treatment) protocols work. … But we know that even a single lapse or breach can result in infection.”

Also, Varga said that someone who is a “close contact” of the nurse has been “proactively” placed in isolation.

The hazardous materials unit of the Dallas Fire Department has cleaned up and decontaminated the public areas of the health worker’s apartment complex, Mayor Mike Rawlings said. Police are keeping people out of the area and are talking to residents nearby.

“We have knocked on every door on that block,” the mayor said.

Hazardous materials units have also cleaned out the nurse’s car and will work on her apartment Sunday.

“This development is understandably disturbing news for the patient, the patient’s family and colleagues and the greater Dallas community,” the CDC said in a statement, announcing the nurse’s test results.

It sought to play down a wider risk.

“The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures, including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with the index patient, and immediate isolations if symptoms develop,” the CDC said.

Complete coverage on the Ebola outbreak

Case was anticipated

“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement Sunday morning.

“We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”

The nurse reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was isolated, the health department said. The preliminary test result came in late Saturday.

President Barack Obama received two briefings Sunday on the second Dallas Ebola case, including one from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. According to a White House statement, the President wants federal authorities to immediately take further measures to ensure health care professionals are able to follow protocols for treating Ebola patients.