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  • Dr. Thomas Frieden speaking at the CDC headquarters (Photo:Reuters)

    Dr. Thomas Frieden speaking at the CDC headquarters (Photo:Reuters)

Published 12 October 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct an investigation focused on a possible breach during the treatement of Thomas Eric Duncan.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in an interview with CBS, that the Ebola contagion to a second subject in the United States occurred because of a mistake made by the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital staff while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who died last Wednesday.

“We’re deeply concerned about this new development. I think the fact that we don’t know of a breach in protocol is concerning because clearly there was a breach in protocol. We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients,” said Dr. Frieden.

The worker of the hospital who got infected is in isolation at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and is now awaiting for a confirmation of her diagnosis. It has been reported she is a female but no further details of her identity or her job were given.

The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Chief Clinical Officer, Daniel Varga, said that the team who took care of Mr. Duncan was in full protective gear when they did so, wearing a gown, gloves, mask and a shield.

But Frieden added: “Infections only occur when there’s a breach on protocol. We know from many years of experience that its possible to care for potentials with Ebola safely without risk to healthcare workers but we also know that its hard, that even a single breach can result in contamination and one of the areas that we look at closely are things like how you take off the gear that might be infected or contaminated.”

The CDC chief also informed that the other 48 people who were in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan are being observed.

Obama calls for immediate action to handle Ebola

President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis of a second case of Ebola and asked the CDC to “move as expeditiously as possible” to investigate into the apparent protocol breach.

He also recommended the CDC officers sent to Texas and the rest of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital employees to review the infection control procedures and to use protective equipment adequately.

Finally he urged the federal authorities to “take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient."

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