Officials have asked those who flew or had close contact with Amber Vinson, an Ebola-afflicted nurse who visited Akron last week, to self-monitor by taking their temperatures twice a day to stop the spread of the disease.
It was inevitable that the disease which took its deadly roots in the heart of Africa would soon spread its claws and take other parts of the world under its nightmarish shadow however when the word Ebola was first heard with reference to the US, many ears stood up and the news was just more than shocking; the fear of the deadly Ebola virus has now entered the homeland. At the moment, 150 people are being closely monitored by the health officials. This group of people had come into contact somehow with an Ebola-infected Dallas nurse who spent three days in the Akron area preparing for a friend’s wedding.
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87 among these are those who happened to be on the same flight as the nurse Amber Vinson who flew on the Frontier Airlines flight from Dallas to Cleveland on October 10th and came back on October 13th. During her short stay, she is believed to have come into contact with 29 people, including several of her friends. To shop for the bridesmaids’ dresses, she visited Coming Attractions, an Akron shop now shuttered after the nurse’s Oct. 11 visit.
The symptoms started to emerge as early as October 10th while she boarded the flight from Dallas after being detected with a fever of 99.5-degree. Fortunately, a larger part of her stay there was confined to her parents’ house in Tallmadge, Ohio, which is an Akron suburb. After her diagnosis, her stepfather has been quarantined at home and will be observed for 21 days.
A Cleveland Transportation Security Administration officer gave Vinson the permission to board the plane with the fever on October 13th has been put on paid administrative leave “out of an abundance of caution.” The employee had worn safety gloves at the time of the procedure. A statement from the Transportation Security Administration says “The employee is not reporting any symptoms. The employee was instructed by CDC to self-monitor over the next few days, as a precautionary measure.”
After being diagnosed, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse has been quarantined in a hospital in Atlanta and also her 153 contacts have been asked to self-monitor for three weeks to make sure they did not contract the lethal virus. Vinson is not the only one to be affected by this deadly disease after the death of the first Ebola patient in the US, Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. Another nurse who had cared for the deceased has also contacted the virus. 26-year-old Nina Pham is the first case of Ebola which has been diagnosed on the US soil. Pham is being monitored at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. and she is reportedly in a fair condition.
The root of this disease can be traced back to Duncan, a 42-year-old Liberian national who was visiting relatives in the US. He was skeptical of his condition and showed up at the emergency room at the Dallas Hospital but was discharged and allowed to go home despite the fact that he had a 103-degree temperature and told nurses he had recently traveled from Ebola-plagued Liberia. Mr. Duncan passed away on October 10th, 10 days after being rushed to the hospital.
A lot of questions were raised at this ignorance at the part of the hospital and Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan apologized for the missteps after he posted a letter on the hospital’s website which ran as a full page ad in The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"I know that, as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge,” he wrote. “When we initially treated Mr. Duncan, we examined him thoroughly and performed numerous tests, but the fact that Mr. Duncan had traveled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart. On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. For this, we are deeply sorry."
Due to these missteps and the fear lurking around the hospital corners, the routinely visits by patients is deteriorating as many cancel appointments or postpone them while being gripped by the fear of the lethal disease that Ebola is. One of the physicians at the hospital told Dallas Morning News that it’s “difficult to be proud to work here right now. “Suffice it to say, morale is low.”
The Texas health officials along with the help from the hospital are monitoring the employees who came under direct contact with Duncan. His family members have also been put under quarantine. Fears have skyrocketed within the US after two health workers travelled soon after treating an infected person and this has lead to the officials making a decision to mandate those who have close contact with the disease to stay away from the public, without travel, for 21 days and check their temperatures twice daily. “They can walk their dog, but they can’t go to church; they can’t go to schools’ they can’t go to shopping centers,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
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