The Associated Press

CDC Looking into Ebola Exposure at Dallas Hospital

Federal and local health officials are trying to identify how Dallas nurse Nina Pham became infected with Ebola while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols.

Pham, 26, was part of the health care team that worked with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with Ebola and later died of the disease.

The Associated Press reported that as many as 70 people were part of the health care team working with Duncan.

While it's still not clear how Pham became exposed, she has been working with CDC investigators to make sure no one else ends up in isolation.

“We can say that we are deeply concerned,” said CDC spokesperson Dave Daigle.

Daigle said there have been many informative conversations with Pham.

“They've asked her a lot of questions about her exposure. They’re trying to learn anything they can from her,” he said.

The CDC team is also working with hospital staff, looking at their procedures.

“We're working with them on protective equipment, making sure they know how to don it, put it on properly,” Daigle said.

And there are also talks about limiting the staff treating Pham.

“Maybe limit the number of people who go in that room, perform certain procedures. If we can shrink that number down, we can also shrink the level of exposure,” Daigle said.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Sunday that a "breach in protocol" led to the nurse's infection, though officials have not yet identified the source of the lapse. After some interpreted his statement as finding fault with either the nurse or hospital, Frieden clarified his statement on Monday.

"I spoke about a 'breach in protocol' and that's what we speak about in public health when we're talking about what needs to happen and our focus is to say, would this protocol have prevented the infection? And we believe it would have," Frieden said. "But, some interpreted that as finding fault with the hospital or the health care worker. And, I'm sorry if that was the impression given. That was certainly not my intention. People on the front lines are really protecting all of us. People on the front lines are fighting Ebola."

Meanwhile, hospital leaders have been holding town hall meetings to inform and reassure staff about the latest developments.

Daigle said the CDC is looking at ways to help in that effort.

“We’re actually looking at trying to bring in some folks who have great experience to talk to the staff that may help,” said Daigle.

Still, he cautions there is a possibility more caregivers could test positive for Ebola in Dallas going forward.

Contact Us