A second healthcare employee at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola, the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed today. The worker, who has not yet been identified, was among those who helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian citizen who died of the virus a week ago.
"Right now, we have two confirmed cases at this time," Zach Thompson, director of Dallas Health and Human Services, told KTVT. "I don't know if there will be additional cases but let's not be surprised."
The worker reportedly came down with a fever Tuesday. An initial test was performed by a lab in Austin, the New York Times reports, which confirmed a positive result midnight Wednesday. According to CNN, a second test will be conducted by the CDC in Atlanta.
Over the weekend, 26-year-old Nina Pham, a nurse at the hospital who cared for Duncan before he died, tested positive for Ebola; the CDC has since determined that the hospital was completely unprepared to handle the virus. A source confirmed as much to CNN:
An official close to the situation says that in hindsight, Duncan should have been transferred immediately to either Emory University Hospital in Atlanta or Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Those hospitals are among only four in the country that have biocontainment units and have been preparing for years to treat a highly infectious disease like Ebola.
It was reported yesterday that at Duncan was left in a room with at least 76 others "for hours" before he was finally contained. Those hospital employees are now being monitored in addition to the 48 people who may have been in contact with Duncan before he entered the hospital.
[Image via AP]