The second Dallas nurse to develop Ebola may have known that she was already showing symptoms when she hopped a flight to Cleveland last weekend.
Amber Vinson told the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention that she was experiencing an elevated bodily temperature before she traveled on Frontier Airlines from Dallas on Friday, ABC News reports. At the time, she stated that her temperature was 99.5 degrees, which is below the fever reading of 100.4 degrees. Since she didn’t meet that threshold for fever concern, she wasn’t explicitly “told she couldn’t fly.”
Cleveland Department of Public Health Director that the patient, a Black nurse, explained, “She flew into Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. She came in to visit her mother and her mother’s fiancé.” Amber stayed with relatives before she came back to Dallas October 13.
That was just a day before she officially came down with a fever and drove herself to Texas Presbyterian Medical Center, where she tested positive for Ebola.
The CDC admitted that it did not take every precaution that it could have to prevent the spread of Ebola as it was discovered that healthcare workers weren’t under any type of travel restrictions. However, Amber wasn’t just any nurse. The Associated Press reports she was treating Thomas Eric Duncan before he died of the virus, and she had repeated direct contact with his bodily fluids as she drew blood and inserted catheters. This kind of contact is the way that Ebola is transmitted and Thomas was in a contagious stage when Amber treated him.
For some reason, Amber hadn’t been ordered into isolation before she traveled, but CDC Director Thomas Frieden said it was an irresponsible move on her part. “At that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline,” he stated on Wednesday.
The CDC has stated that there is little risk that she would have passed the virus onto anyone else since she wouldn’t be contagious until she began to display symptoms.
Amber has now been taken to Emory University Hospital, where Dr. Kent Brantley was successfully treated for the virus.