A day before she was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus, Amber Vinson, 26, the second Dallas healthcare worker now quarantined with the disease, took Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas, and now all 132 passengers who were on that flight with her are being asked to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“At approximately 1 a.m. MT on Oct. 15, Frontier was notified by the CDC that a customer traveling on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13 has since tested positive for the Ebola virus,” began a statement from Frontier Airlines, released by the CDC.
The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 p.m. local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day at which point the aircraft received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures, which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland last night. Previously the customer had traveled from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on Oct. 10,” the statement continued.
“Customer exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who may traveled on flight 1143,” the statement added.
Customers who traveled on any of the flights with the healthcare worker are being asked to contact the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
“The safety and security of our customers and employees is our primary concern. Frontier will continue to work closely with CDC and other governmental agencies to ensure proper protocols and procedures are being followed,” the statement ended.
According to a Canadian Newspaper Vinson was being monitored closely since another nurse, Nina Pham, also involved in Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan’s care, was diagnosed with Ebola.
Still, a CDC official cleared Vinson to board the Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to the Dallas area. Her reported temperature — 99.5 degrees — was below the threshold set by the agency and she had no symptoms, according to agency spokesman David Daigle.
Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola a day after the flight, news that sent airline stocks falling amid fears that it could dissuade people from flying. Losses of between 5 and 8 per cent were recorded before shares recovered.
Ebola patient Amber Vinson will receive treatment for the deadly Ebola virus at Emory University Hospital.
Meanwhile, the United Nations warned Tuesday that if the deadly Ebola virus sweeping across West Africa isn’t brought under control within 60 days, the world will face an “unprecedented situation” for which there is no plan.
Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response painted a grave picture of the virus in a briefing to the UN Security Council Tuesday explaining that he was “deeply worried” that the international community was failing in its effort to stop the advance of the virus.
“Ebola got a head start on us,” he said via video conferencing from UNMEER’s headquarters in Ghana in a UN News Centre report. “It is far ahead of us, it is running faster than us, and it is winning the race. If Ebola wins, we the peoples of the United Nations lose so very much …”
The UN World Health Organization said 8,376 cases of Ebola have been reported by health officials from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone of which 4,024 have died.
“The WHO advises within 60 days we must ensure 70 percent of infected people are in a care facility and 70 percent of burials are done without causing further infection,” said Banbury in a Sky News report of the briefing. “We need to do that within 60 days from Oct. 1. If we reach these targets then we can turn this epidemic around.”
If they fail at responding to this daunting task, says Banbury, the U.N. doesn’t have a plan to respond to Ebola after that.
“We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan,” explained Banbury.
“With every day that passes, the number of sick people increases,” continued Mr. Banbury. “Time is our biggest enemy. We must use every minute of every day to our advantage and that is what UNMEER is doing.”
Banbury, according to the UN report, pressed for an increase in the number of diagnostic laboratories, transport support, and funding to help with operation logistics. He also warned that by Dec. 1, UNMEER could start getting about 10,000 new caseloads of Ebola per week.
“This is what we are fighting for now: we are fighting to prevent unavoidable [sic] deaths. We are fighting for people who are alive and healthy today, but will become infected … and die if we do not put in place the necessary emergency response,” said Banbury.