DALLAS — A second Texas healthcare worker who treated the Liberian visitor who died of Ebola last week has tested positive for the virus.
Amber Vison, 26, was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last night and placed under isolation after she reported a low grade fever. Vison was among the more than 70 hospital staff members who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan before the virus took his life last Wednesday.
According to reports, she traveled from Dallas to Cleveland by plane last Friday, and returned back to Dallas on Monday, but did not experience any symptoms. The 132 passengers who traveled with Vison back to Dallas will be interviewed because of the short time between her flight and the presence of her fever.
“Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored,” state health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams told reporters on Wednesday. “The type of monitoring depends on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.”
The report about Vison comes just days after nurse Nina Phamm, 26, was also tested positive for Ebola. Pham is stated to be doing well after receiving blood donated by Dr. Kent Brantley, a Christian who had recovered from the virus after contracting it while serving others in Liberia. It was hoped that the antibodies in Brantley’s blood would help Pham’s immune response to Ebola.
“The hearts and prayers of everyone at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are with Nina Pham, and we are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight,” the hospital wrote in a recent statement about the matter. “The doctors and nurses involved with her treatment remain hopeful, and we ask for the prayers of the entire country.”
Local officials state that they are readying themselves in the event that additional health care workers also experience symptoms and test positive for the virus.
“We are preparing contingencies for more, and that is a very real possibility,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief political officer has advised.
As previously reported, the cases follow the diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, who was being cared for at Texas Presbyterian Hospital last week after testing positive for Ebola. His case was considered the first diagnosis in the United States since he had been asymptomatic until days after his arrival on American soil. His family remains in isolation and all those who had contact with him are being monitored.
Until recent weeks, Ebola has been exclusive to West Africa, with Liberia reportedly being the hardest hit. Over 3,000 people have died from the virus since its initial outbreak in March. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that new cases could reach 10,000 a week by December and that “a lot more people will die” if response to the crisis isn’t addressed more urgently.
Some point to Christ’s words in Matthew 24:7 in light of the outbreak, who said that in the last days, “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places.”