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Why didn't anyone stop an Ebola patient from flying?

By Anonymous October 16, 2014 - 3:20pm
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Amber Vinson, a nurse now diagnosed with Ebola, flew on a commercial airline the other day. Before flying, she called the CDC to say she had a 99.5 temperature and they said she could still fly. Could other passengers on the plane now be at harm? Why was the nurse not stopped from flying?

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Thank you for such a thoughtful answer Pat Elliot

October 18, 2014 - 5:19pm
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Hi Anonymous and thanks for your timely question about Ebola, a subject on many people's minds right now.

The nurse, Amber Vinson, 29, was not an Ebola patient when she flew. She had been a member of the team at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died of Ebola on Oct. 8. She is the second member of the hospital staff to contract the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have acknowledged that Ms. Vinson was given incorrect counsel when she contacted the CDC about whether she should fly with a temperature of 99.5 and that she should not have flown on a commercial airline.

The error may have been due to prior advisories which listed the "threshold temperature" for Ebola precautions as being 104 degrees.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news briefing, "Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline. From this moment forward, we will ensure that no individual monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement." By that statement he meant that people would use non-public transportation such as charter flights using protective measures and personal cars.

Nurses have a tough job to do, and display courage and dedication when they take care of the sickest people among us. Like firefighters, they go in places that others run away from. Let's hope that she survives, and that this mistake does not result in others becoming ill, and instead has helped sound an early warning to put more precautions in place to protect the rest of us.

What are your thoughts on this, and would you care to share why you asked this question? Do you have more questions? Are you worried about your own safety? Let us know.

Best regards,


October 16, 2014 - 5:43pm
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