Friday, October 17, 2014

CDC Expands Passenger Notifications Over Ebola Concerns


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Overnight – based on new information that Dallas nurse Amber Vinson might have been mildly symptomatic as early as Saturday – the CDC has decided to expand the scope of their airline passenger notifications to include those on her flight to Ohio last Friday along with her return flight.


  • Frontier Airlines flight 1142 Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Oct. 10
  • Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13

Media reports suggest that nurse Vinson was presenting with `atypical’ symptoms even on the 14th, when she was admitted, casting some doubt as to precisely when she may have become symptomatic.  Local health officials and the CDC are now looking at her contacts in Ohio, including on Saturday when she visited a Bridal shop.

From the Summit County Health Department (Ohio), we get the following update on Amber Vinson’s close contacts while in Ohio.



Based on the current information Summit County Public Health is not advocating for the closure of schools or the cancelling of public events. However, we are asking that individuals who visited Coming Attractions Bridal & Formal, Inc. located at on 1220 East Tallmadge Ave. on October 11, 2014 between the hours of 12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. to call (330) 926-3939.

The healthcare worker infected with Ebola arrived at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on October 10, 2014 and left out of Cleveland Hopkins on October 13, 2014. During her stay in Ohio she had very limited contacts and only visited Coming Attractions Bridal & Formal, Inc. All identified contacts (6 in Summit County and 2 in Cuyahoga County) have self quarantined and are being monitored by the local health department. All questions should be direct to the Summit County Ebola Information Line at (330) 926-3939.


Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that Frontier Airlines is notifying passengers on 7 flights – the two that nurse Vinson rode on  - and 5 other flights that occurred before the airline took the plane out of service to decontaminate it.   The airline is reportedly replacing seat covers, carpeting and air filters around Vinson's seat.

Some of this may seem a bit of overkill, but from both a public health and a public relations standpoint – after the lapses in Dallas that allowed two nurses to become infected – doing anything less and seeing another case arise because of that would be a disaster. 


Here then is the CDC’s statement released last night. 


CDC Expands Passenger Notification

Based on additional information obtained during interviews of close contacts to the second healthcare worker from Texas Presbyterian Hospital who tested positive for Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its outreach to airline passengers now to include those who flew from Dallas Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on Oct. 10.

CDC is now asking passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1142 Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13 to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). Public health professionals will interview passengers about the flight, answer their questions, and arrange follow up if warranted. Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored.

On the morning of Oct. 14, the second healthcare worker reported to the hospital with a low-grade fever and was isolated. The CDC confirmed that the second healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola Oct. 14 had traveled by air Oct. 10 and again Oct. 13, the day before she reported symptoms.

CDC is reaching out to passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1142 Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland in addition to Frontier flight 1143. Frontier is working closely with CDC to identify and notify passengers who may have traveled on flight 1142 on Oct. 10.  Passengers who may have traveled on flight 1142 or flight 1143 should contact CDC at 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636).

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with blood or body fluids of an Ebola-infected person.  Direct contact means that body fluids (blood, saliva, mucus, vomit, urine, or feces) from an infected person (alive or dead) have touched someone’s eyes, nose, or mouth or an open cut, wound, or abrasion. Ebola is killed with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach). The airline used appropriate measures to thoroughly clean the plane consistent with our guidelines.

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