Tom Frieden

A second health care worker has tested positive for Ebola, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday. The nurse is the third person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the U.S.

At a press conference Wednesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the nurse reported a fever on Tuesday and has been placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, along with Nina Pham, another nurse who tested positive for the virus on Sunday. Both nurses were involved in the care of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola last week.

CDC director Tom Frieden said the new patient will be transferred to Emory hospital in Atlanta.

Jenkins said Texas Presbyterian Hospital is preparing for more cases of Ebola. 

"We are preparing contingencies for more, and that is a very real possibility,”  Jenkins said.

Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said the nurses contracted the virus after being exposed to Duncan, even though they were wearing protective equipment. 

“There was an exposure somewhere, sometime in the treatment of Mr. Duncan," Varga said. “Let’s be clear: We’re a hospital that may have done some things different with the benefit of what we know today. But make no mistake, no one wants to get this right more than our hospital."

The CDC and Frontier Airlines have confirmed in a statement that the new patient took a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and returned to Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday evening, the day before she reported symptoms. The CDC is monitoring passengers who flew on the flight, even though the health care worker exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on the plane. 

Frieden said the new patient should not have traveled on a commercial airline, and that workers having contact with an Ebola patient will not be allowed to travel. 

The CDC also said it has sent a team to the hospital in Dallas to oversee infection control and monitor its use of protective equipment.

A health care worker in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday. This is the second known case of the virus in the U.S., and, if the preliminary results are confirmed, it will be the first time the virus has been transmitted between humans in the U.S.

In a press conference Sunday, CDC Director Tom Frieden said the health care worker is a female nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. According to Frieden, the nurse had provided care and had “extensive contact” with Thomas Duncan, who died last week and was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

Frieden said officials are examining the case to try and figure out what caused the nurse to contract the virus, since she was in full protective gear when caring for Duncan. 

“We don’t know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original patient in Dallas, but, at some point, there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” Frieden said. 

Officials plan to examine kidney dialysis and respiratory intubation, which were both performed on Duncan, as procedures in which the virus might have spread.

According to a press release from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the nurse developed symptoms Friday, and a blood sample was tested for Ebola in a lab in Austin. 

“The individual was self-monitoring, and, immediately on developing symptoms, as appropriate, she contacted the health care system, and, when she came in, she was promptly isolated,” Frieden said. 

The press release stated health officials have interviewed the patient and have identified only one possible contact that could have been exposed to the virus. 

David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the department has been ramping up control measures to prepare for further possible transmission of the virus. 

“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” Lakey said. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”

Frieden said the CDC plans to focus on four things related to the second Ebola case — caring for the worker, assessing her possible contacts from when she developed symptoms, evaluating other possible exposures to the virus, and launching an investigation to find out how the breach in protocol happened. 

Frieden said the CDC has sent additional staff to Texas and plans to implement increased training of health care workers at Texas hospitals, limit the number of workers and procedures related to Ebola patients and examine procedures used for personal protective equipment.  

“What we do to stop Ebola is to break the links of transmission,” Frieden said. “We do that by making sure every person with Ebola is promptly diagnosed, that they’re promptly isolated, that we identify their contacts, and that we actively monitor their contacts every day for 21 days.”

The 48 people who have possibly come into contact with the virus are still being monitored, officials said.