A breach in safety protocols, possibly while removing protective gear after treating an Ebola patient, may have caused a Texas healthcare worker to contract the deadly virus, a top U.S. health official said on Sunday.
All of the Dallas healthcare workers who helped care for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died last week at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, were potentially exposed to the virus, said U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden on Sunday.
“Another (area) that we’ll be looking at closely in the investigation is the interventions that were done to try desperately to keep (Duncan) alive," he told CBS' "Face the Nation". "This included dialysis and intubation. These are two procedures which can result in the spread of infectious material,” Frieden said.
"The level of her symptoms and indications from the test itself suggest that level of virus that she has was low," Frieden said of the infected worker.
Frieden said there was one person who may have had contact with the infected health worker when she could possible transmit the disease and that person is being monitored.
Frieden said the intubation of Duncan and use of a dialysis machine posed high risk for transmission of the virus.
The outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The CDC is conducting a test to confirm initial results from a lab in Austin that showed Ebola infection. The CDC results were expected for later on Sunday.
Duncan died in an isolation ward on Oct. 8, 11 days after being admitted, with more than 50 people attending to his care. The hospital said it was decontaminating its isolation unit while health officials said Duncan's body had been cremated.