A second Texas nurse who has contracted Ebola told a U.S. health official she had a slight fever and was allowed to board a plane from Ohio to Texas, a federal source said on Wednesday, intensifying concerns about the U.S. response to the deadly virus.
Amber Vinson, 29, flew from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, on Monday, the day before she was diagnosed with Ebola, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Vinson told the CDC her temperature was 99.5 Fahrenheit (37.5 Celsius). Since that was below the CDC’s temperature threshold of 100.4F, “she was not told not to fly,” the source said. The news was first reported by CNN.
Chances that other passengers were infected were very low, but the nurse should not have been on the flight, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters.
Vinson was isolated immediately after reporting a fever on Tuesday, Texas Department of State Health Services officials said. She had treated Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Oct. 8 and was the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States.
Vinson, a worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, had taken a Frontier Airlines flight to Cleveland from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Friday. She returned to Dallas on Monday aboard Frontier Flight 1143.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said the likelihood of a widespread Ebola outbreak was “very, very low.” But he pledged a more aggressive response to U.S. Ebola cases and said he would do everything possible to ensure no more healthcare workers were infected.
Obama met with Cabinet officials to discuss the government’s response to the Ebola situation after canceling a trip to New Jersey and Connecticut.