Ebola-infected nurse Amber Vinson felt unwell while she was visiting Ohio last weekend, but did not show the typical symptoms of the virus. "There is some indication that she felt funny, that type of thing, during the time she was here," Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control said at a Friday briefing. "She rested for a long time on some days, she said she felt funny. Those types of things but nothing specific." Those details have led health officials to conclude that Vinson may have been sick as early as Oct. 10, when she flew from Dallas to Cleveland to plan for her upcoming wedding. The timing of when she fell ill is important because Ebola patients are only contagious when they are sick.
Authorities have identified 16 people who had contact with Vinson while she was here and they are being monitored but none of them is sick. They are still seeking people who may have crossed paths with the nurse while she visited the Coming Attractions bridal shop in Akron with five friends, who are all under voluntary quarantine. Because Ebola is only transmitted through the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms of infection, officials think it is highly unlikely that there will be an outbreak in Ohio.
Vinson, 29, had extensive close contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola on Oct. 8 at the Dallas hospital where she worked. Because his medical team wore protective equipment, they were not initially considered to be at risk of exposure — so Vinson was not barred from traveling, even after she reported a low-grade fever before she boarded a flight back to Dallas on Oct. 13. The CDC has now revised its thinking on the risk to health-care workers who used the equipment.
"We know that preventing exposure is even harder than we thought," he said. "At that time there wasn't a limitation of their movement. Now there is a limitation on their movement... Those health-care workers — we now know they should not have traveled."
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