Daily Mail: The family of a Dallas nurse who cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan then caught the disease herself have angrily denied she was ‘careless’ in flying to Ohio and back while carrying the virus.
Amber Vinson, 29, who works at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, caught Ebola after helping to care for Duncan. She then went on a trip to Ohio and back – and was hospitalized with the virulent illness hours after her return. In the wake of her trip 153 people are being monitored for signs of the disease, and three are in quarantine.
In a statement released by her family today, they say Vinson would never ‘knowingly’ put anybody at risk, was vigilant in testing herself for signs, and followed all the relevant protocols.
The statement attacked any suggestion that she ignored medical or government guidelines. Medical staff dealing with Ebola are allowed to fly provided they wore protective gear while dealing with the virus.
The statement said she reported her body temperature three times before boarding her flight home last week.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged Vinson checked in repeatedly and was cleared for travel.
Cleveland station WOIO reported the family’s statement and said that they feel public comments and media outlets ‘mischaracterize Amber and her actions’. It said: ‘Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful. Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions.”
‘To be clear, in no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else.’
Three people have been quarantined in northeast Ohio following Vinson’s visit to Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. None of the three, quarantined after new monitoring guidelines by the state, has exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.
Initially, only Vinson’s stepfather had been quarantined, in his home in suburban Akron. The two others, in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and in Summit County, were quarantined after.
Ohio governor John Kasich ordered the new guidelines, which include travel restrictions, on Saturday. A state health official said the guidelines are meant to remove any chance of Ebola spreading. ‘As we’ve seen, travel is a potential problem,’ state epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said. ‘It’s why the people of Ohio are dealing with the situation we have right now.’
Under the guidelines, anyone who has had direct contact with the skin, mucus membranes, blood or bodily fluids of someone diagnosed with Ebola must be quarantined for 21 days.
Anyone who did not have direct skin contact but reported spending more than an hour in close proximity to an infected person is not to travel commercially for 21 days. Such people also are to seek permission to travel outside the health jurisdictions where they live. People who were in the same enclosed space as an Ebola carrier are not to travel outside the U.S.
Kasich said the federal government should ban travel from West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands of people, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Vinson cared for a man who died from the disease in Dallas. She was diagnosed last week. She flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back on Oct. 13.
Ebola is spread through bodily fluids. Someone who is infected does not become contagious until he or she shows symptoms of the disease. Health officials have said Vinson exhibited some symptoms while in Ohio.
There are 153 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with Vinson. They include people with whom Vinson had direct contact, those who visited the Akron bridal shop where her bridesmaids tried on dresses on Oct. 11 and those who were passengers on the flights she took.
Vinson is being cared for at a specialized unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Her family said she is a ‘deeply committed nurse driven by a fundamental passion for helping others.’ One of Vinson’s Dallas hospital colleagues, Nina Pham, also is being treated for Ebola.